52% of employees will continue to work remotely in the short term, poll finds

London, 28 July 2020 – From our poll today, in collaboration with The Chartered Governance Institute,  52% of respondents will continue to work remotely for the next few months. 19% will go back to the office on a part-time basis, 19% will go back full time and an additional 10% specified another option.

The poll also found that 90% of those who replied felt that their employer has effectively communicated with them about a potential return to the workplace throughout the lockdown period. Furthermore, on a scale of 1-10, with one being not at all and 10 being extensively, 54% feel extensively that their employer has taken the right precautions to ensure a safe return to the office. A further 18% opted for a nine and only 1% opted for a score of one.

Peter Swabey, Policy and Research Director at The Chartered Governance Institute said:

“It is clear from the responses that many respondents will continue to work remotely for the time being, but envisage having more flexibility about where to work when they do return to the office. A poll that we ran last month found that just over a third of people (36%) did not wish to return to the workplace, the same percentage of respondents who did. Many see the benefits to remote working, such as a reduced commute time and more time to spend with family, and one respondent felt so strongly about the advantages of home working that they said they would look for another job if denied the opportunity to do so. However, not all respondents are wedded to the idea of home working. One respondent to this latest poll mentioned that there are adverse consequences, including difficulties in collaborating, lack of social/informal networking, as well as difficulties in training/development including observing behaviour/shadowing. There are also many other factors that organisations need to consider when looking at this issue, such as mental wellbeing and physical discomfort if people are working from home in conditions that are less ideal than they might be in the office.”

Asked whether remote working has been embraced or whether office based working is favoured, a range of answers were given, which included the following:

  • We were moving to a more ‘work from elsewhere’ culture before COVID-19 and this has now been accelerated
  • Office based is favoured
  • Remote working is favoured and likely to be part of the mix going forward, including for client meetings which is a big factor in deciding on an overall solution
  • We already had a flexible working policy, and seeing how successful it has been for both colleagues and the company, once it will be possible to return to the office, consideration will be given to enabling more of the staff to be able to continue to work from home if that works for both parties
  • Neither fully office based nor fully home based is ideal; the dial has definitely shifted away from the former, but it will take some time to find the balance that achieves the best of both
  • Plans to review flexible working arrangements were already being considered prior to COVID-19, albeit accelerated and robustly tested in recent months. The view is that by returning to previous ways of working, opportunities would be lost and the intention is to press ahead with flexible working where it makes sense to do so
  • Remote working has been embraced and I think some provision for at least part-time remote working will continue where appropriate. Some roles will return to being office based. Some roles have been based in the office throughout as they are not viable to undertake from home. For example a few IT roles to maintain the infrastructure, handling of incoming post, etc.

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