The ongoing coronavirus crisis has given people a taste of life working at home. The results of a YouGov survey suggest that many people will be reluctant to return to office life when the choice is offered to them.
Around 68% of British workers had never worked from home before the pandemic. Of the 32% who did, 13% were full-time workers and the other 19% were part-timers. However, 57% of workers have said that they want to be able to continue working from home after the pandemic ends.
Of that, 18% of people said they want to work from home all the time and 39% said they wanted the option to split their time between home and the office. Only four in ten people said they didn’t want to work from home at all. These results could be concerning for the government, which has focused on pushing people back into the office to save local economies dependent on commuting.
What people wanted when the pandemic ends largely depends on their circumstances before the outbreak and if they had been working from home during the pandemic. 55% of the people who hadn’t worked from home before said they wanted to keep doing so.
Of the people who hadn’t worked from home before and are now working at home full time, the vast majority (91%) say they want to be able to work from home at least some of the time. 81% of those who have gone from never working at home to working at home part time also say they want the option to stay at home.
On the other hand, most people who hadn’t worked from home before and aren’t working at home full time (73%) say they don’t want the option and want to go back to the office. Most of the people who worked at home before the pandemic want to keep working at home.
Notably, roughly a third of people (31%) who had worked from home some of the time before the pandemic and were forced into working at home full time say they want to keep working at home full time in the future.
Three quarters of home workers are under the impression their employer will let them keep working from home. One-in-five people went so far as to say that they would consider moving to another part of the country if it meant they could keep working from home. 22% of people said they would even emigrate to another country if needs be.
The impact of working at home will be felt in London most of all. Many are realizing that they don’t have to deal with the intense rents and cost of living of the capital if they don’t have to. A separate survey for London workers showed that two-thirds of people wanted to keep working from home, including 19% who wanted to work at home full time.
Londoners are also more likely to consider moving to work at home full time if possibly. Just under a third of Londoners said they would move to another part of the country, or another country entirely, in the right circumstances.