One in four UK workers eager for permanent homeworking shift

A new study from Deloitte finds large numbers want remote or hybrid working while trade union leaders call for the instatement of mandatory ethnicity pay audits.

Woman working at home

 

Almost a quarter of workers in the UK hope to never return to the office, according to a survey by Deloitte, and are eager to see a permanent shift to working exclusively from home.

The number who want to work permanently from home has more than doubled in the last year.

The poll, based on a survey of 1,248 UK workers across a number of industries, also found that the proportion of staff hoping never to work from home again was slightly higher at 28% [but down from 50% in March 2020], while 42% said they would like a hybrid model, working remotely for at least two days a week.

Employees currently based at home are twice as likely to think they work best there (40%), compared to in a workplace (21%). More than two in five (42%) say they like not having to commute, with 40% finding it more efficient and 34% feeling more relaxed.

For those finding working from home challenging, 39% say it’s hard to stay motivated, while 34% find it difficult to maintain a work life balance and 33% feel isolated or lonely.

The survey found that younger workers are more likely to find working from home difficult. More than half (58%) of employees aged under 35 doing their jobs from home say they are finding it ‘challenging’, compared to an average of 44% for all home workers, with 37% of under-35s saying they feel ‘overwhelmed’ by the different technologies they need to use for their role.

Nearly one-third (29%) of workers aged under 35 say they don’t feel confident using technology in their role, compared to an average of 22%.

Office for National Statistics data show 49% of UK business workers are currently at their usual place of work, while 53% travelled to a workplace last week. Around 17% are still on furlough.

Meanwhile, a number of business groups and economists have called for mandatory disclosure of firms’ ethnicity pay gaps, criticising a recent Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities report for not recommending the move.

Trade union leaders have described the report as  “insulting” and urged the Prime Minister to dismiss it. In a letter to Boris Johnson, 33 trade union general secretaries have urged the government to “pick a different path”. The letter says: “We hoped that the report would recommend action to stamp out insecure work and make employers act to close their ethnicity pay gaps . . . Instead, the commission has chosen to deny the experiences of BME workers and be complacent about the UK’s progress towards being an anti-racist society.”

Frances O’Grady, general secretary of the TUC, says the commission “denied the experience of black and minority ethnic workers”. Arguing that the PM “must not make the same mistake,” she says the government “must reject this divisive report.”

And a study by the New Financial think tank has found that more than 400 financial services firms in Britain have moved activities, employees and a combined trillion pounds ($1.4 trillion) in assets to hubs in the European Union in the wake of Brexit. It says around 7,400 jobs have shifted from the UK or been created at new hubs in the EU, although it expects this is an underestimate and that numbers are likely to rise, with Dublin being a favoured destination. The research found more than £900bn in bank assets – about 10% of the entire UK banking system – has also moved or is being moved out of the UK as a result of Brexit, with Frankfurt expected to be the winner in terms of assets long term and Paris to benefit most from jobs.



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