Despite Prime Minister Boris Johnson urging employees to start returning to their workplace from next week, a quarter report their company’s finance teams will not be returning to the office with other staff in August and will now work at home for the majority of the time, according to research by Theta Financial Reporting
The consulting and accounting firm says its poll of over 2,000 people nationwide looking into how the UK workforce and business leaders plan to deal with the ‘new normal’ ways of working, found 26% say the finance teams will continue remote operations.
Overall, more than half of those polled (57%) do not want to go back to the normal way of working in an office environment with normal office hours.
Nearly half of all UK business leaders (45%) say they see the working environment changing for the better due to the impact of Covid-19.
In some cases, this will mean downsizing teams. Three in 10 business leaders (29%) say they have streamlined their team permanently because of the current crisis as they discovered some roles were surplus to requirements.
Employees have noticed changes, as well. A third of UK workers (35%) say their company will return to the office with a smaller team with people handling more varied responsibilities, while 17% say their business will no longer be in a permanent office when they return to full-time work.
However, 35% also maintain that going back to work in a traditional office environment will have a negative impact on their mental health, which in turn will negatively affect their productivity.
Using public transport emerges as a key stumbling block for any return to the office. Overall, two-third of workers (65%) say they do not feel comfortable commuting to work anymore and think it will be one of the most stressful parts of their day, raising to 70% in London.
Chris Biggs, managing director and founder of Theta Financial Reporting, said: ‘This research demonstrates the clear desire for people both in the capital and finance teams not to return to their pre-Covid working environments, regardless of the calls from business leaders.
‘Many businesses have adapted to working away from the office and with so many people caring for vulnerable relatives, friends and children, it seems people do not want to return in August, despite the easing of lockdown restrictions. This will have a significant impact on how our workplaces will look beyond lockdown.
‘From the commute to boosted productivity when working from home, there are numerous benefits to flexible working that this period has uncovered for millions of employers and employees alike. Business leaders would do well to realise this and adapt now to pivot their business, remove unnecessary overheads and plan for a post-Covid future.’