As the UK prepares for restrictions to ease, returning back to the workplace is on the minds of many employers. However, many employees aren’t willing to return back so easily.
A survey of 1,022 UK workers, carried out by HR software provider CIPHR, has revealed that nearly three quarters (73%) of UK workers would accept a reduction in pay in return for being able to work remotely permanently. In addition, only 15% of UK workers who have been working remotely during the Covid-19 pandemic want to return to the workplace full-time.
72% of people would like to split their time between the workplace and working from home, with 11% wanting to work remotely full-time. Of workers who are expecting to continue working remotely on a full-time basis, 43% would prefer to be able to return to the workplace either some or all of the time.
UK bosses have a lot of work to do to reassure and safeguard the welfare of their employees if they want them to return to the workplace. 75% of workers said that they are somewhat or very concerned for their welfare with regards to Covid-19 if they are required to return to the workplace in some capacity.
The most popular measures respondents would like their employer to implement to protect them from Covid-19 if they return to the workplace were to add hand sanitisers throughout the building (58%), increase the frequency of the workplace being cleaned (48%) and limiting the number of people allowed into the building each day (47%).
The least popular measures were requiring employees to provide evidence of being vaccinated (24%), creating one-way systems throughout the workplace (32%) and requiring employees to have their temperature checked before entering the workplace (34%).
It’s clear many employees are nervous about entering the workplace during the pandemic, with 40% of respondents believing that employers should be able to prevent employees from travelling abroad for holiday due to Covid-19.
Commenting on the study, Claire Williams, director of people and services at CIPHR, said: “When it comes to returning to the workplace there’s clearly a disconnect between what employees feel is going to be required of them and what they would actually do given the choice.
“Employers need to be aware that the majority of people have a preference for working remotely in some capacity and they risk losing the skills and experience of some great people if they’re inflexible in their approach to remote working. Furthermore, employers may find it difficult to reject flexible working requests within the legal framework, on the basis that most employees have successfully worked from home whilst potentially also juggling childcare. That coupled with the introduction of new technology in daily ways of working hopefully paves the way for more flexible employers across the board.”