Survey shows resistance to full-time office working

Office workers favour hybrid working, with only 3% saying they would be happy to return to the office full time, according to a Morgan McKinley survey.

Office workers


Employees’ preference for hybrid or remote working remains high, with only 3% saying they are happy to be in the office full time, according to a new survey by McKinsey.

The Morgan McKinley Global Workplace Study by McKinsey, based on over 3,400 professionals and 650 employers/hiring managers globally, found 93% of respondents in the UK expressed a strong preference for continuing in a hybrid or remote work model and that professionals working in hybrid models express the highest contentment with their work patterns, with 51% willing to forego pay raises for desired flexibility.

Yet, despite employee preferences, 40% of companies are urging staff to return to the office more regularly while onsite workers show higher rates of actively seeking new employment opportunities compared to hybrid and remote workers. 56% of respondents who work on site five days a week are actively looking for a new job in the next six months compared to 41% of hybrid employees and 44% of fully remote employees. What’s more three quarters of hiring managers say flexible working is crucial for talent attraction and retention.  The survey comes as Boots is trying to entice employees back to the office full time.

It found that in the UK, one to two days in the office is the favoured weekly working pattern for 52% of professionals, with a further 22% selecting 3-4 days. The survey also revealed that half of employees would even skip a pay increase if it meant they got their desired flexibility.

The survey also found regional differences from companies mandating for employees to return to the office with Hong Kong (91%), Australia (65%), Japan (62%), Singapore (61%), and China (59%) exhibiting higher rates of return-to-office mandates compared to 40% in the UK, 40% in Canada and 42% in Ireland.

David Leithead, COO of Morgan McKinley, said: “Four years post-pandemic, the global workforce is still grappling with the ongoing debate surrounding hybrid work models. Simply mandating a five-day-a-week office presence would likely encounter resistance and productivity dips.”

“Companies, therefore, need to implement a strategic and mindful approach to this remote rewind. Striking the balance between flexibility and practicality calls for close collaboration through open communication channels and understanding the motivations driving employees’ desires for flexible work arrangements. 2024 will be a pivotal year to see if organisations see flexibility as not just a perk but a fundamental aspect of workplace cultures creating a more inclusive, productive, and resilient workforce.”


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