An empty Canary Wharf in London’s financial quarter
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Home-working is set to become a long-term trend, according to the British Council for Offices, which has found that most office workers have no plans to return five days a week.
Sixty-two percent of senior executives and 58% of entry-level workers would like to divide their time between their homes and workplaces, the BCO found. Just under half (46%) overall said a hybrid way of working would be likely for the next six months.
Only 30% said they were considering returning to the office five days a week, while 15% said they would prefer to work exclusively at home.
Seven out of 10 said the office was important for learning and development, while two-thirds said their career had been helped by relationships they made in the office.
BCO chief executive Richard Kauntze said: “We are never going to go back how things were before.”
“The idea that people will return to the five-day week in the office has gone, and I think a much more blended approach is likely, two or three days in the office and two-three at home or wherever is going to be a much more typical pattern. Most people will value being able to work on that basis.”
Another survey released today by the Institute of Directors comes to a similar conclusion, with three-quarters of respondents anticipating more home-working after the pandemic, and more than half planning to reduce how they use physical office space in the future.
Roger Barker, IoD director of policy, urged the government to help smaller employers to invest in technology to support home workers through research and development tax breaks.
Barker also warned organisations that they should not adopt an “out of sight, out of mind” approach.
“Working from home doesn’t work for everyone, and directors must be alive to the downsides. Managing teams remotely can prove far from straightforward, and directors must make sure they are going out of their way to support employees’ mental wellbeing,” he said.
“For many companies, bringing teams together in person proves more productive and enjoyable. Shared workspace often provides employees the opportunity for informal development and networking that is so crucial, particularly early on in a career.”
In September, the government changed its guidance to working from home where possible, after initially encouraging workers back to offices after the summer.
This led to a rise in the proportion of employees working from home exclusively, according to the Office for National Statistics.
The ONS found that 24% of employees have been working only from home since 22 September, compared with 21% the previous week.
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