More than a year after many workplaces shut their doors, companies in the UK are welcoming back employees. But after a year of remote work and strict safety requirements, employees’ expectations of their employers have changed. To better understand how the workplace experience will need to adapt, we partnered with Wakefield Research to survey 1,000 workers in the UK. We asked about experiencing burnout, workplace safety concerns, and attitudes towards hybrid versus fully remote work.
Here are the key findings of the study:
Concerns over relaxing COVID measures are high amongst UK workers
Over half of respondents (59%) worry about their safety when it comes to returning to the office. Just as many respondents (59%) voiced concern about their workplace relaxing COVID measures too early.
The majority of respondents see COVID vaccinations as a critical safety measure. Almost 3 in 4 (70%) respondents believe their company should require employees to get a vaccine before they can go back to the office in person.
Burnout is rife, especially in younger workers
Since March 2020, 78% of respondents have felt close to burnout, with a staggering 88% of women reporting burnout compared to 68% of men. Digging further into the demographics, 97% of respondents in Gen Z have felt close to burnout in comparison to 50% of Boomers.
Respondents didn’t see their concerns about burnout going away anytime soon: 64% of respondents expressed concern about experiencing job-related burnout in the future. Concerns about future burnout are especially pronounced among women (70% compared to 59% of men) and people in Gen Z (81%).
Hybrid work will improve employees’ work-life balance and mental health
Many UK workers see the benefits of a hybrid work model where people can work remotely or from an office. Almost 3 in 4 (70%) of respondents stated that a hybrid model would result in personal benefits. These personal benefits included improved work-life balance, improved mental health, time saved commuting, and lower costs of living. Slightly more women noted the personal benefits (73%) than men (67%).
Forty-one percent of respondents said that hybrid work would improve their work-life balance. This rose for people who currently work 100% remotely. Of people who reported working zero days in the office, 60% said that hybrid work would improve their work-life balance. This sentiment was also high among Millennials and Gen Xers (44%), who are also most likely to have young children. Over a third (34%) of respondents stated that a hybrid work model would improve their mental health. This number rose to 50% among people who currently work from the office zero days per week.
Employees want to return to workplaces together
Half of respondents said that their co-workers’ presence, or lack thereof, would influence where they chose to work each day. This indicates that employees want to work together in person and see the workplace as a place to connect and collaborate with others. This also signals that employers can encourage employees to return by making it easy to see and share workplace schedules.
Knowing who else will work on-site each day holds special importance for office workers. 59% percent of office workers said that their co-workers’ work schedules will influence their own. Work friends influence people to work on-site more than the presence of a boss or supervisor. 20% percent of employees said they would work from the office to see friends, compared to 14% who would go in to secure face time with their boss.
The report was conducted by independent research firm Wakefield research. This report uses survey data to understand the impact of remote work in response to COVID-19. More than 1,000 U.K. adults ages 18+, employed full- or part-time, were surveyed through an online survey between May 7th and 12th. The data was weighted to ensure an accurate representation of full-time and part-time employees in the U.S., ages 18+.
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