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Number of Reluctant Office Returners Doubles in Less Than A Year

Research carried out by absence management platform, e-days, has revealed that levels of reluctance to return to the office have doubled in less than a year, with almost two thirds (60%) of the UK workforce reluctant to return to the office when the lifting of lockdown restrictions allows.

This follows data from e-days in July which revealed that only a third of workers expressed this reluctance last year. Overall, less than one third (32%) said that they were keen about returning to the office once the lockdown roadmap allows.

When asked what would concern them most about returning to the office, an overwhelming 59% of respondents cited the time and cost of the commute as the reason behind this reluctance. This is a figure that has also almost doubled in less than a year as an additional survey from August 2020 showed that only 34% cited the commute as their main concern.

A minority of 11% cited safety as their main concern for returning to the office. This suggests that the reluctance to return is not linked to COVID-19 and is a more permanent change that needs to be addressed by UK businesses. In fact, after a year of working virtually, almost one in five (19%) reported that they feel more productive at home.

In light of this, Steve Arnold, cofounder of e-days, commented: “Employees are proving that working from home can often be more productive and that less time and money spent commuting can improve mental wellbeing and help to reduce stress levels. As our data highlighted last year, employees are still reluctant to return to the office, and employers that understand this and implement changes quickly will reap the rewards from a happier and more productive team. The pandemic has actually introduced a more positive absence culture in the workplace, and this is something businesses should look to maintain as restrictions are eased.”

With news that over a million UK employees will not be returning to the office full-time, this data reinforces the importance of a working environment that reflects both the needs of the business and the workforce.