Most UK employers have hybrid workers…and they wish they didn’t

New research about remote and flexible forms of work in the UK is shedding light on a troubling new trend: while most employers have hybrid employees who work remotely at least a few times per week or per month, the majority of them are trying to get that to stop. 

Towergate, an insurance brokerage and risk management advisor based in London, surveyed 500 HR professionals in January 2024. They found that nearly every single one of the companies represented admitted to trying different tactics to get employees back in office – despite the overwhelming preference most UK workers have for remote, hybrid and flexible work.


The remote work ‘preference gap’ remains strong

UK remote work

There continues to be a strain between the number of employees who want remote work and those who get it.

The disparity between the large number of employees who want to work from home and the much smaller percentage of employees who are actually allowed to do so has been dubbed “the preference gap” by global IT software firm Ivanti. 

Towergate’s research sheds some vital insight that demonstrates just how easily this gap can be created and maintained.

They found that of the 500 respondents, 91% have employees who are working in a hybrid model. Of that 91%, a staggering 98% said they have introduced measures to “persuade” staff to return to working in-office full-time. 

Some employers didn’t stop at “encouragement,” though, as 37% of employers with hybrid employees said they outright made some office days mandatory.


More calls for balance between remote workers and their employers

UK remote work

Several business leaders are urging a balanced approach to remote and hybrid work in the UK. (Photo by Craig Adderley on Pexels)

In its research into the matter, Ivanti urged businesses to close the preference gap if they want to foster workplace loyalty, employee satisfaction and job retention. 

Now, Towergate is likewise encouraging UK employers to be more adaptable

They found that 30% of employees work from home at least three days per week, and that employees in the peak of their working years — ages 31 to 40 — are the most likely to want to work from home. 

Debra Clark, Towergate Head of Wellbeing for Health & Protection, urged employers to consider the health and wellbeing of their employees in their remote work or hybrid work approach. 

“The important thing is ensuring that the employer is still able to engage with their employees, regardless of the work setting,” she said. “Employee benefits and support will need to remain flexible and adaptable to both scenarios.”

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