The Leading News & Information Service For The Facilities, Workplace & Built Environment Community

Most UK Employees Now Believe the Office is Unnecessary

Most UK Employees Now Believe the Office is Unnecessary
20 April 2021

New research from IWFM has revealed that 63 per cent of employees now believe the office to be unnecessary - a rise of a fifth since the first lockdown.

The poll, which surveyed 2,000 office workers across the country in March 2021, found that the vast majority of employees will expect a level of hybrid working in the future - with nearly half (44 per cent) of the workforce planning to work from the office for 3 days or fewer a week.


“The truth is, home versus office working should not be viewed as a binary choice between focus and connection."

–Chris Moriarty

Director of Insight, IWFM


Flexible Working Most Popular With 18-24-Year-Olds


Demand for hybrid working is particularly prevalent in the younger demographic. Two-thirds (66 per cent) of 18-24-year-olds admitted that not being offered flexible work patterns would cause them to look for a new job. Yet more than a third (38 per cent) of this demographic feel their employer is pressuring them to return to the office - risking losing new talent. 

The Institute of Workplace and Facilities Management (IWFM) is calling on employers to ensure that hybrid working is accessible for all; providing adequate choice and support for employees to perform their role from multiple locations, in order to avoid losing younger workers to competitors. 

More than three-quarters (79 per cent) of 18-24 year olds believe that they will be equally as productive or more productive working from home. This demographic is also working the most unpaid overtime from home - on average 11.6 extra hours a week - and has invested on average nearly £300 in creating a suitable working environment at home (£292).


Avoiding "A Knee-Jerk Return to Pre-Pandemic Status Quo"


Chris Moriarty, Director of Insight at the Institute of Workplace and Facilities Management comments: “More than a year on, we continue to see employers striving to strike the right balance between remote and office working. The benefits of the office have not been forgotten, yet we continue to become accustomed and comfortable with our home working routines. 

“The truth is, home versus office working should not be viewed as a binary choice between focus and connection. A true commitment to ‘hybrid working’ will give employees and employers flexibility to work in a way that is best suited to them - allowing them to reap the productivity and social benefits of both home and office working environments, how and when it best suits their needs. Employers should now make every effort to provide staff with genuine choice to perform their role wherever they feel their performance would be best supported - adapting the office space, incentives and policies to reflect the changing nature of the workspace environment.”

Moriarty continues: “The COVID-19 crisis has left a permanent mark on our view of the workplace - and a knee-jerk return to the pre-pandemic status quo risks serious implications for businesses in attracting and nurturing talent. The responsibility now falls on organisations to think about their employee experience beyond the boundaries of their corporate workspace. Effective employers will already be thinking of how to support employees and provide a suitable working environment for them, wherever and however they choose to work.”

Picture: a photograph of a set of office desks, with the blurred figure of a person seen in the background 

Article written by Ella Tansley | Published 20 April 2021


Related Articles

UK Workers Unsure on Returning to Office Without Vaccine

Around half of UK office workers feel confident about returning to work without a fully vaccinated workplace. Research shows that 80 per cent of UK office...

 Read Full Article
Long-Term Leases are Preventing a Move to Hybrid Working

Business leaders who may otherwise consider switching to a hybrid model are being hampered by being stuck in a long term lease. Flexible space operator Clarendon has...

 Read Full Article
Morgan Stanley Office Report Shows Steady UK Progress

The most recent Morgan Stanley AlphaWise report, one of a succession researching the trends throughout lockdown for offices, shows that UK estimates for returning to...

 Read Full Article
Mitie Launches Post-Lockdown Workplace Guide

As UK lockdown restrictions begin to ease, Mitie has published a new guide to help businesses prepare their workplaces for the future. ​The guide has been launched...

 Read Full Article
HSBC Managers to Hot Desk Instead of Having Private Offices

HSBC’s Chief Executive has told a national newspaper that an entire executive floor of its Canary Wharf office is now to be used as meeting rooms and collaborative...

 Read Full Article
IWFM Report Shows 58% of FMs Believe the Market Will Improve Within a Year

The Institute of Workplace and Facilities Management has released its Market Outlook 2021 report, revealing that most FM professionals believe the market will...

 Read Full Article
7 Ways to Improve Office Hygiene and Cleanliness 

With businesses already putting plans in place to get people back into the office, ensuring good hygiene practices is paramount in preventing any spread of coronavirus in...

 Read Full Article
Facilities Managers Say 80% of Employees Will Head Back to the Office

The RICS UK Facilities Management Survey has revealed that workers across the UK could return to offices faster than anticipated, according to those working in the...

 Read Full Article
Rishi Sunak Calls on Home Working to End

Chancellor Rishi Sunak has told a British newspaper that workers must be allowed to return to the office or they may “vote with their feet” and...

 Read Full Article
Office Workers Value Working From Home Above a Pay Rise

Research shows that UK office workers value their new norm of working from home so much that many would forsake career progression, company benefits and even a pay rise...

 Read Full Article