90% of Brits want to continue working remotely

Preventing people from choosing how they work in the future does not make economic sense, researchers suggest

The UK government's plan to encourage workers back into offices could be shunned as research suggests most remote workers wish to continue doing so. 

Nine in 10 people in the UK who worked remotely during the pandemic want to continue to stay away from the office, according to research conducted by Cardiff and Southampton Universities. 

The report, Homeworking in the UK: before and during the 2020 lockdown, said working from home rose from 6% at the start of the pandemic to 43% in April.

Between 6,000 and 7,000 UK residents were questioned in the survey, with 88% saying they would like to continue working remotely in some capacity, with 46% wanting to do so often or all of the time.

The findings also suggest that productivity remained stable, with around two-fifths (41%) stating they got as much work done at home as they did six months earlier in office environments. More than a quarter (29%) said they got more done at home, while only 30% said their productivity had fallen.

The research comes just a day after reports said the UK government is planning to encourage workers back into the office amid growing concerns about the impact of remote working on cities and towns. On Thursday, the CBI warned that there is a risk of 'ghost towns' without the passing trade of commuters and tourists.

Professor Alan Felstead, who is based at Cardiff University, said the results of the survey suggested there could be a "major shift" from the traditional workplace and that denying people to do so didn't make "economic sense". 

"What is particularly striking is that many of those who have worked at home during lockdown would like to continue to work in this way, even when social distancing rules do not require them to," he said.

"These people are among the most productive, so preventing them from choosing how they work in the future does not make economic sense. Giving employees flexibility on where they work could be extremely beneficial for companies as they attempt to recover from the impact of COVID-19." 

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