Majority of UK employees prefer hybrid work according to new report

Envoy, a workplace platform that helps teams manage hybrid work, released the results from its latest UK Return to the Workplace Report. The study gauges sentiment among 1,000 UK workers who go into the office at least once a week.

Despite being fielded during December’s Omicron surge, the report reveals that given the option, most UK knowledge workers prefer to work from the office in some capacity. Of workers who have returned to the office, more than half (57%) would choose a hybrid work model, splitting work between in-office and home. Only 5% would prefer to work remotely every day.

“The numbers show that folks are aching for community and want to come back to the workplace. And once they go back, they like it. The draw is in-person interactions that make socialising and work collaboration so much easier,” said Larry Gadea, CEO and Founder of Envoy.

“That said, they want their autonomy too. They want control over when and how they work. When you think about creating a great workplace that people love, we’re more than halfway there. We know what employees want – and how to make their experience better. We just need to do it.”

Other notable findings:

Hybrid work is top preference for workers in 2022

  • Of workers who go into the office at least some of the time, the majority (57%) would prefer to work hybrid in 2022, splitting their time between home and the office.
  • 38% prefer to work in-office full-time while only 5% want to work remotely all the time.
  • A majority of workers (73%) want to work in the office 100% or most of the time, demonstrating that the workplace experience for those who’ve returned is better than expected.
  • People working for smaller companies are more likely to want to go into the office five days a week (42%) compared to those working for companies with over 1,000 employees (31%).
  • Of those who prefer hybrid work, 61% choose Wednesday as their go-to office day, followed by Tuesday (57%).

What empowers workers and keeps them happy? Flexibility.

  • A majority of workers (60%) are likely to change jobs within the year while a staggering 76% of Gen Z (18-24) are looking to make a move.
  • The top reason is money. 39% of those likely to switch are looking for a higher salary. 38% are disappointed by a lack of flexible hours or hybrid work options; and 22% simply don’t enjoy their work anymore.
  • What makes workers happy and increases employee retention? 30% of respondents say schedule flexibility, the freedom to choose which days to come in. A very close second is hybrid work options (29%).
  • Flexible work options are now just as important as traditional benefits such as matching pension and paid holiday leave or therapy and mental health days (29%).

What excites people about going into the office? Impromptu run-ins 

  • Socialising with work friends and water-cooler moments top the list (37%) of things that excite people about working in the office this year.
  • 35% of workers are merely excited about the idea of getting out of the house while 27% look forward to collaborating with colleagues in-person.
  • A quarter (25%) are looking forward to improvements in their mental health and work-life balance.
  • Face time with managers and career advancement are least important to workers (16%) when considering working in the office.

 What’s the biggest turn-off to going into the office? 

  • The biggest return to work deal-breakers are long or expensive commutes (35%), a disregard for COVID safety precautions (31%), no flexibility in work hours or days spent in-office (28%), and dealing with challenging or chatty coworkers (21%). 12% have no dealbreakers.
  • 40% of older workers (55- to 64-year-olds) are concerned about lax safety protocols compared to only 29% of their younger counterparts (25- to 34-year-olds).
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