A third of workers would quit if told to be in the office full time

More than a third of workers would quit their jobs if they were told to return to the office full time, survey reveals

  • UK roles offering flexible working fell for tenth consecutive month in February
  • More than half of women have considered quitting jobs due to lack of flexibility 

More than a third of employees would resign from their jobs if they were forced to return to the office full time, new data from employment website LinkedIn shows.

It found that despite continued demand for flexible working, the number of vacancies advertised as flexible or home-based fell for the tenth month in a row in February.

Many UK recruiters are asking employees to return to the office full time after the coronavirus pandemic saw millions of people dramatically change their working patterns.

Women are particularly affected by the push to return to the office – more than half have quit or considered quitting a role due to a lack of flexibility.

The new research comes as Chancellor Jeremy Hunt is set to deliver his budget today, which will see major policy announcements designed to get more people back into the workforce.

UK businesses are pushing for employees to return to the office full time after millions worked from home during the pandemic

LinkedIn shows that nearly two thirds of employees in the UK are considering a job change this year – yet a fifth would stay if they were allowed flexible working patterns, the Times reports. 

The site also found that the youngest in the UK workforce, those belonging to Generation Z, are less likely to apply for homeworking roles than previous generations.

Ngaire Moyes, LinkedIn’s UK country manager and vice-president of communications, warned of the risks to businesses if they remove all flexible-working roles. 

She said: ‘The pandemic saw a revolution in how people work, and for the majority of businesses, the great experiment in remote working was more successful than anyone ever expected.

‘Three years on, we have adjusted to a new, flexible way of working, and of course most people don’t want to go back to how things were pre-Covid. 

‘We know that flexibility brings all sorts of benefits – including being a huge motivator for employees – meaning it’s crucial for employers to consider this when it comes to attracting top talent.’

Young people are the least likely to want to work remotely, data from LinkedIn shows

Homeworking or flexible hours helps parents, caregivers and employees with certain health conditions maintain greater autonomy and full-time working hours which they may not be able to manage in the office.

But industry bosses and entrepreneurs have hit out at the practice since the pandemic, claiming it undermines productivity and efficiency.

Writing in 2022, Sir James Dyson said homeworking ‘kills’ businesses: ‘The Government ignores the fact that for many companies, especially creative businesses such as Dyson, this [homeworking] kills essential learning and collaboration, stunts development of our people, prevents access to vital equipment and laboratories, and undermines the security of our intellectual property.’

Earlier this year research revealed that while office workers typically return to the office from Tuesday to Thursday, employees at major UK business hubs such as the City of London were more likely to work from home on Mondays and Fridays.

Real estate firm CBRE said empty office space in London has more than doubled over the past three years.

CBRE’s head of research, David Inskip, suggested a basic office set-up might put off staff, adding: ‘It has to be a high quality built environment that draws you in.’

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