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79% of UK office workers embrace e-signature, as 2020 reshapes broader perceptions of agreements

Signing agreements digitally has become the norm for the overwhelming majority (79%) of UK office workers, according to a recent survey commissioned by DocuSign. The COVID-19 pandemic has completely redefined what work looks like for people across the country and the findings provide tangible proof of the essential role electronic agreements are playing in daily lives and business workflows.

The past 12 months have challenged businesses in ways none of us thought possible. To stay operational, companies have had to continue to adapt and become more resilient—and we’ve seen a large proportion benefit from digitising the way they sign and manage their agreements with customers, partners or employees. The ability to do business from almost anywhere, on almost any device, has never been more important,” said DocuSign Chief Operating Officer, Scott Olrich.

Taking the paper out of paperwork

In response to the sudden shift to remote work early last year, the research found that 79% of UK office workers had signed an agreement digitally over the past 12 months, with 55% doing so on a computer and 23% on a mobile device*. Less than a fifth (18%) signed agreements with pen and paper.

The type of agreements people are signing has also changed. Alongside more traditional business contracts, such as purchase orders (26%) and scopes of work (14%), 25% of UK office workers have signed new employment contracts this year, followed by mortgages (22%) and even marriage certificates (11%).

Moving away from the office

Of those who had signed agreements in the past year, 42% said they had done so in their home office, 22% while watching TV, 12% in bed and 10% in the car. This shift towards an altogether more casual way of working is also reflected in the fact that 44% of respondents signed agreements while wearing casual wear and 38% loungewear or sportswear.

Farewell to the handshake

Before COVID-19, the actions that first came to mind when thinking about agreements were signing a contract with pen and paper (27%), followed by a handshake (17%). After the pandemic began, this perception altered considerably. Now, the majority of UK officers (32%) first visualise a contract being signed on an electronic device, with the humble handshake down to just 6%.

Overall, the research also bore out how digital technologies simplify and accelerate the agreement process—so much so that they are permeating people’s everyday lives. To find out how preparing, signing and managing agreements could help you and your business visit

*Specifically, 55.29% of respondents signed a contract on a computer, whereas 23.31% did so on a mobile device. Overall, 78.60% sealed the deal digitally in 2020.