Companies will face pressure to accommodate working from home even after the Covid-19 crisis passes, according to a new survey. About 80 per cent of those questioned said they would like to work from home for at least two days each week. One in 10 expressed a preference to work from home full-time.
The survey, conducted by PeopleSource, was carried out in June and received more than 2.600 individual responses. It was focused on the impact of the pandemic on workers and sought to establish “tipping points” that influenced attitudes at work.
Three-quarters of respondents said the Covid shutdown had altered their views on work, with 84 per cent saying they now place much greater emphasis on flexible working arrangements and 49 per cent looking to spend more time with their family.
There was little difference between men and women in their responses in this area. Just over one in three (37 per cent) said they were looking forward to getting back to an office routine.
Worryingly for employers struggling with reduced revenues since lockdown, the survey found a majority of respondents would leave their company rather than take a cut in pay or work reduced hours.
More than three-quarters of respondents in the 20-29 age group said that they would move to another company to secure a new role in those circumstances.
About one in five respondents in the 40-59 age bracket would work reduced hours if it meant staying with their current company, while just one in 10 in the same age group would accept a cut in pay.
A quarter of older workers – those aged over 50 – feel their job is at risk as companies adjust to the new normal.
Despite this, an overwhelming 90 per cent are confident of their employer’s ability to succeed despite the pandemic. But more than half, 53 per cent, said they were open to offers from rival employers.
In relation to a return to the office, twice as many workers over 50 (33 per cent) said it did not worry them compared with their younger peers (those between the ages of 20 and 29). Twice as many of the younger cohort (28 per cent) expressed concerns about their mental health on readjusting to the office.
The main concerns were on being able to realistically maintain social distance with colleagues (50 per cent), hygiene in the office (47 per cent) and commuting (36 per cent).
About one in eight of all respondents indicated that they would only agree to attend online events and meetings when they return to work. Only one in five was prepared to attend functions or meetings where they had no control over social distancing.
Three-quarters of respondents now feel more positive about technology after the experience of working from home, particularly the practicality of videoconferencing. However, there was still a preferences for face-to-face meetings.