Over half (57%) of UK workers do not wish to return to a normal way of working following the ease of lockdown, according to new research from Theta Global Advisors.
It found that 11.8 million workers would rather have their work remain flexible, in place of returning to a normal office alongside normal working hours, indicating that the new way of working is “here to stay”.
A further 65% of employees said they do not feel comfortable commuting to work via public transport anymore, and think it will be “one of the most stressful parts of their day” if work is to return to normal post-pandemic.
It comes as 44% of working Brits are currently working from home and do not expect to return to the office until next year.
Amongst London City workers, 41% said the pandemic has encouraged them to look towards consultancy and freelance work or start their own business, while 45% said it has made them realise “what a poor work-life balance they had pre-lockdown”.
In addition, 63% of City-based workers believe the workplace of the future will have to change “drastically” to avoid losing its best talent to freelancing and consulting.
According to Theta Global Advisors, younger people will generally be more keen to get back to the office for the collaborative and networking opportunities it presents, though some will feel more comfortable at home.
Chris Biggs, partner at Theta Global Advisors, said: “These statistics are indicative of the wider trend that we are seeing with workplaces up and down the country. We have long offered our employees flexible working options and I do believe that it is the future of work and boosting productivity.
“This period has shown that employees working from home can be productive and while some teams will have to return to the office for necessary collaboration, I don’t see offices reaching the occupancy levels of 2019 for a long time.”
He added: “Business leaders should not rush to get everyone back as soon as the Government announces a start date. They should instead use common sense and judge on a case-by-case basis if their employees want to come back or feel safe to do so.
“Each person has experienced the pandemic differently, whether that be through home-schooling, being stuck in one room or enjoying not having to commute. So employers should not implement company-wide policy and rather let employees decide their preference.”