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Nearly Half of UK Workers Would Quit if Their Employers Forced Them to Return to the Office

New research indicates that returning to work will pose more obstacles than SMEs expect.

It is no secret that Britain’s industries and staff are on a new normal with established government advice that allows all workers to work at home.

The study reports that 45% of office employees would be prepared to slash their salaries to continue working from home on a long-term basis.

For the remainder of 2020, 84 percent of the UK fully-time staff expect to operate remotely.

Sixty-one percent would be worried if their organisation was using remote activity and productivity surveillance for home workers; over a third (36%) would say that they would leave if they did.

Owl Labs research reveals the attitudes of Britain to work before and after lockout. The majority (84%) of UK full-time employees expect to operate remotely in some way for the remainder of 2020, while almost half (41%) would possibly leave if they were compelled against their will to return to the workplace.

Almost half (44%) of UK full-time staff expect to work a full five-day week, with 55% planning a more hybrid job within an office space between one to four days.

Since home work is expected to be part of the future, 45% of employees are ready to slash wages so that they can continue working from home on a long-term basis.

Changes in salary preferred over return to work

15 percent is able to accept a 5 percent salary reduction, which is equal to £1,518 per year while considering the current UK full-time income of just over £30k.

Office employees would certainly quit if their company lowered their wages as part of corporate cost savings (46%), or if their managers reduced their wages if they wanted to move from their homes indefinitely (41%) to a suburban or rural area.

Due to the manner in which the COVID-19 pendemic and the Brexit negotiations stall, increasing the UK’s financial burden, several businesses will explore ways to cut costs and save capital.

Although reducing office space to make it easier to raise demands for work from home, businesses must pay attention to the availability of compensation for workers.

If the company made a change to their pay to take into account savings from travel expenses, etc., over half ( 51%) of the workers would find it unreasonable and start searching for another job, while 8% would find it unjust and abandon even if they had no other job at all.

Communication is still key

Frank Weishaupt, CHOOR of Owl Laboratories, said, “maintaining effective communication, regardless of location, is more crucial than ever in today’s world”. “As offices continue to work remotely and the adoption of hybrid working increases, there’s a growing demand for products and services that help productivity and allow blended teams to communicate effectively and stay as close-knit as they were before the pandemic.”

When negotiating this changing workplace environment and working life, businesses must be flexible and open to employee demands.

Yet, according to Weishaupt, it offers agile businesses the ability to easily hire the best talent irrespective of distance, to minimize overhead costs with smaller offices and to deliver loyal and happier staff to better match the market for jobs.

Shift in worker expectations

With the transition in workplace habits, employers should not be surprised that workers now have different expectations of their workers, both at home and at work.

Three quarters (74%) of workers feel that their employers should reimburse or provide office equipment gadgets (including tablets, printers and additional screens) while they operate from home; half ( 50%) assume that they should provide office furnishings (including desks and ergonomic chairs).

Half of workers agree that WiFi and telecommunications bills should be provided by their enterprises and forty eight percent believe the energy bills should be funded by the businesses while working home.

When workers do eventually return to the office, or for those who are currently unable to work from home, 62% of workers believe their employers should provide free COVID-19 tests, with 65% saying free PPE (such as masks, gloves, and antibacterial gel and wipes) should be provided as standard.

The shift to increased working from home provides workers with more flexibility and freedom, but employers concerned about their workers’ productivity should think carefully before introducing remote monitoring technology.

When working from home, 61% of employees would be concerned if their company bought in remote activity and productivity monitoring, with over a third (36%) saying they’d be likely to resign if so. Almost three-quarters (72%) were concerned about the use of video tracking, 61% with attention tracking apps, 60% were concerned about keyboard tracking apps, and over half (52%) if their employer were to monitor time spent on certain apps or websites.

Once people actually return to work or the people who are incapable of working , 62% of staff think their employers should provide COVID tests and 65% say that they should have free PPE.

The move to remote working allows employees more flexibility and mobility, but employees concerned about productivity of their workers should think carefully before implementing remote monitoring technologies.


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