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BUSINESS NEWS UK – EMPLOYEES WILL BE RELUCTANT TO GIVE UP FLEXIBLE WORKING AFTER LOCKDOWN, STUDY FINDS

Posted 6th May 2020 • Written by staffingindustry.com •

New working patterns prompted by the Covid-19 crisis could cause employees in the UK to permanently reduce time spent in the office, according to research from O2 Business conducted in partnership with research firm ICM and YouGov.

O2’s survey showed that 45% of UK workers predict a permanent change to their employers’ approach to flexible working when lockdown lifts.

Nearly half the workforce think flexible working will increase, with 33% of this group expecting to increase the amount they work from home by at least three days a week after lockdown, and 81% expecting to work at least one day a week from home.

Heejung Chung, Reader in Sociology and Social Policy Director at the University of Kent, said, “It will be difficult to go back to normal ways of working after lockdown, as we’ve now proven that most of us can work from home, despite many companies previously telling employees that it wouldn’t be possible.”

The research also found that currently, two-thirds of employees (62%) live within 30 minutes of their workplace. However, if working from home was easier and more common this figure would reduce by half (to 36%) and instead two-thirds (63%) of UK workers would be willing to live up to an hour away from their workplace. This suggests that competition to attract and retain staff could intensify post-lockdown, as businesses compete with a wider range of employers from across the country.

“If people could work from wherever they want to, without any fear of career penalty, this would create a huge opportunity for everyone,” Chung said. “Even though the findings highlight that people will be willing to live up to one hour away from work in the future – that’s still constrained by what people feel they currently need to do. If we completely opened this up with consistent flexible working, and we had the right digital infrastructure in place, that time could be significantly increased.”

Source: staffingindustry.com

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