How would you react if you were suddenly told you had to go back to the office full-time?
If you were in the privileged position of being able to work from home during the pandemic, you might have got used to the flexibility of managing your hours and the increased freedoms of not having to commute.
Now, many bosses want people back in the office – but it looks like they could have a fight on their hands.
New research has revealed that almost half of UK office workers (47%) are ready to walk away from their current job and look for new opportunities if flexibility is not provided by their employer, rising to 60% in workers aged 25-34.
However, almost half of UK businesses (48%) are insisting that their employees return to the workplace, at least on a part-time basis.
This decision has not been well received – upsetting nearly a third of UK employees (32%), which rises to 44% of employees aged 25-34, making them 74% more likely to look for another job if they don’t get the flexibility they want.
The results have come from data collected from interviews with more than 3,000 people who work in organisations employing more than 200 people. It is part of an independent research report commissioned by Velocity Smart Technology.
Researchers found that people are happier with this flexible way of working with a third (34%) insisting their mental health has improved since being allowed to have more flexible working.
Anthony Lamoureux, CEO of Velocity Smart Technology, says, ‘As the research confirms, employees don’t just expect flexible working, they are actively making career changes to better suit their commitments outside of work.
‘Whether that is flexible hours, locations or a mixture of both. Employees that are not offered the chance for flexible, remote or asynchronous working will walk – straight into another job.’
These figures should raise alarm bells for businesses already scrambling to avoid the cost and disruption associated with staff turnover. Companies have experienced a huge spike in job moves in recent months, and almost 7 in every 10 UK employees (69%) say they feel confident to move to a new job in the next couple of months.
‘Employees have rediscovered the joys of taking time to be outside during the working day, from walking the lockdown dog to managing side jobs,’ Anthony adds. ‘Substantial numbers of individuals now recognise the nonsensical nature of the old nine to five.
‘It now needs to become an essential part of recruitment and retention strategies for businesses to firm up flexible employment models – or else, they may be left without an office to fill.’