WFH: Three in four Londoners vow to NEVER return to office full-time

Londoners vow to NEVER return to office full-time: Study reveals 75% believe they won’t go back to commuting every day and 60% are still WFH at least once a week

  • Policy Institute and King’s College London spoke to more than 2,000 workers 
  • They found that only 20 per cent of workers in the capital are in office full time
  • Some 80% of home workers said working away from office had ‘positive impact’
  • However a majority said they enjoyed being at the office, citing its social aspect 

A whopping 75 per cent of Londoners say they will never return to the office full time after experiencing working from home (WFH), a major new study has found. 

A survey of by the Policy Institute and King’s College London suggests working life in the capital is unlikely to return to pre-Covid patterns any time soon, with 60 per cent of workers still WFH at least once a week.

Only 20 per cent of Londoners are currently in the office full time, with 13 per cent WFH entirely.  

And 80 per cent of home workers say the so-called hybrid system has had a positive impact on their lives, with the lack of a rush hour commute cited as the top benefit.

The crippling Tube strikes this week, and in March, are likely to have added to this sentiment after bringing the network to a grinding halt and forcing commuters to board packed out buses and hail pricey Ubers and taxis. 

It’s also clear that coronavirus is still playing on the minds of workers, with just under half (48 per cent) citing it as a main reason for wanting to avoid travelling to work. 

The cost of commuting and the time it takes to get to the office were also among the main gripes. 

The strong support for WFH comes despite Boris Johnson’s pleas last month for people to return to the office full time. 

The prime minister claimed that people end up obsessively grazing from the fridge while working from home, admitting that he often found himself spending ‘an awful lot of time making another cup of coffee’, or ‘hacking off a small piece of cheese’ before ‘forgetting what it was you’re doing’. 

A survey of by the Policy Institute and King’s College London suggests working life in the capital is unlikely to return to the pre-Covid patterns any time soon, with 61 per cent of workers still WFH at least once a week

Very few workers believe the working environment will return to its pre-pandemic ways of full time office attendance 

Commuters on the London Overground this week during a 4,000-strong walkout organised by the RMT union 

But the poll of 2,015 workers found an overwhelming majority disagreed with his view, with just 16 per cent agreeing that home workers do not work as hard as those based in the office. 

But while most respondents said they would prefer the option to work at home at least one day a week, more than half (57 per cent) said they still felt positive about being at the office. 

The majority of these (57 per cent) cited being ‘able to see and meet more people’ and socilaising with others during breaks. 

They also listed avoiding the blurring of work and home life, while more than a third said they found it easier to complete work-related tasks. 

When it came to salary, some 66 per cent of the respondents disagreed with the view that people who work at home should be paid less. 

It comes after companies have threatened to deduct the pay of employees who choose to WFH, including law firm Stephenson Harwood, which said it would introduce a 20 per cent cut. 

But despite the widespread support for WFH, Paul Swinney, director of policy at Centre for Cities, said the work environment might soon resemble pre-pandemic life quicker than people predict.

Graph shows how working from home has become far more common post Covid 

Some 61 per cent of workers are currently working from home at least one day a week

‘There is a difference between what people’s expectations are and what we might see in reality,’ he told the Telegraph. 

‘People are rational to say they don’t think they’ll do it ever again, but it’s hard to make that call. 

‘They don’t know what the world might look like in two years’ time.’

It comes after from the Office of National Statistics yesterday found that fewer than one in 10 Britons want to return to working in the workplace full-time.

However, the data also laid bare the wealth and age gap between people in the office full-time and those working from home.

Among workers who earned £40,000 or more, 23 per cent are working from home 38 per cent were in a hybrid pattern, splitting their time between the office and home.

On the other hand, among those on £15,000 or less, just six per cent of workers were WFH, while just 14 per cent of people had a hybrid working arrangement.

In terms of age, the ONS found that workers aged between 30 to 49 were the most likely to have a hybrid pattern at 29 per cent.

Meanwhile, just 23 per cent of workers aged 16 to 29 have a hybrid working arrangement, while that number dropped to 20 per cent for those aged between 50 and 69.

Some 84 per cent of Britons want to work-from-home at least occasionally, according to a report released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) at the end of May

More than a third (38 per cent) of those earning £40,000 a year or more were splitting their time, compared to eight per cent of those earning £15,000 or below

Some 90 per cent of those quizzed by the ONS want to keep working from home at least part-time despite efforts by ministers to get people to return to city centres.

And the proportion of those wanting to spend the majority of their working week at home rather than their traditional workplace has also risen by 12 percentage points in the past year since rules were relaxed.

The proportion rose from 30 per cent to 42 per cent between April 2021 and February, with the proportion wanting to work permanently from home rising from four to six per cent.

At the same time, the proportion planning to commute five days a week fell from 11 per cent to eight per cent. The percentage planning to go to a workplace for the majority of their time also fell, as did those planning an even split.

The figures appear to show that workers are ignoring pleas from ministers to return to offices and other sites.

The ONS noted that the most common reason given for retaining WFH was that it had become part of workers’ ‘normal routine’.

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