Are you going to return to the office? |

Return to the office campaign yet to convince

With the Government in England having ramped up its “return to the office” campaign to coincide with the reopening of schools after the post-lockdown summer holidays, we directly asked people who are currently working from home whether they want to return to their traditional desk.

Here’s what they told us.

Do you want to return to the office? |

We asked over 2,300 people who are currently working from home whether they want to return to the office. Strikingly, 78% of respondents do not want to – they would prefer to carry on in their “home office”.

Of the 22% that do want to get back to the office, there is a split between those that are keen to go back to full-time office life (9%) and those who just want to work an occasional day from their office (13%). Amongst the “yes, get back to the office” camp, one participant told us:

“It is better to be in the office, it is more productive.”

Another respondent did however suggest a third option for the work from home versus return to old office debate:

“Local co-working space…to get away from the distractions of home, but to avoid the time lost commuting.”

Would you consider leaving your job if forced to return to your office on a permanent basis? |

Exactly half of all respondents said that they would, in theory, consider leaving their job if forced to return to their office on a permanent basis.

One person told us:

“Now I have had the chance to work from home for a significant amount of time – and my work has not suffered – the idea of paying for over-priced trains again does not make sense to me. I will look for a more flexible employer if obliged to go into the office every day.”

Would you consider leaving your job if forced to work from home on a permanent basis? |

On the flip-side, only 6% of participants would consider switching employer if forced to work from home forever.

Within the “yes” group, one person did highlight why working out of an office is important for them:

“Teamwork needs face-to-face interaction, and close proximity, for it to work effectively.”

Are you under pressure to return to the office? |

Remembering that 78% of respondents to this Speedy Poll do not want to return to the office, nearly half of all participants (46%) are under pressure to get back to the former desk.

Do you think your boss trusts you whilst you are working from home? |

More than one-third of people surveyed do not think their boss trusts them when working from home, with close to a quarter being unsure what their boss thinks.

One IT project manager did tell us however:

“Location should not be a factor in the employer – employee trust relationship. As long as there is a good line of communication and transparent IT systems, then it should not matter where anyone works on a given day.”

Do you think your career would suffer if you were to permanently work from home whilst others return to the office? |

Whilst there appears to be a desire to spend more time working from home, could a fear of damaging career prospects drive people back to their office?

Close to one-third of our panel definitely think so, whilst 23% think that their career could potentially suffer if they are based full-time at home.

If you had to, would you be happy to wear a mask in the office? |

Although not a rule or guideline in place at the moment, 63% of those surveyed would not want to wear a mask in office if required to.

What next for office workers?

With Government, employers and employees having differing views on what is best for office workers, the next 3-6 months should tell us a great deal about whether office life will revert to how it was before March this year or change for good.

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This Speedy Poll was conducted on with 2,307 people, who are currently working from home, on 28 August – 2 September 2020. The results are from this individual poll alone and are not nationally representative.

The eOpinions expressed here are those of the respondents to the Speedy Poll: “Are you going to return to the office?” They do not to reflect the views of Hutch Media Group Ltd t/a eOpinion itself.

Image Attribution: Photo by kate.sade


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