Thursday 8 October 2020 12:25 pm

Majority of UK businesses to scrap working from home post-pandemic

More than two-thirds of UK businesses plan to scrap working from home beyond the pandemic, the latest official figures showed, as the number of commuters continues to escalate despite government orders. 

Figures released today by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showed that 67 per cent of more than 24,500 British businesses surveyed said they do not intend to keep homeworking as a permanent business model in the future.

Read more: Microsoft boss warns against rapid transition to working from home

Just 19 per cent said they intended to ditch office space and incorporate working from home into their permanent business model, while 15 per cent were not sure.

Businesses relying on physical labour across the hospitality, transport and construction sectors said they were least likely to introduce working from as an enduring option. 

Meanwhile, around half of British companies in the arts sector and 60 per cent of admin firms said they would scrap the option, with one in 10 UK businesses saying it deteriorated communication between staff.

It comes as top industry figures have warned that working from home has caused a spike in stress, anxiety and burnout amongst employees.

A report released yesterday by US tech giant Oracle and HR firm Workplace Intelligence found that 2020 has been the most stressful year in history for the global workforce, with more than four-fifths of employees saying stress at work was affecting their home life. 

Microsoft chief executive Satya Nadella earlier this week said workers around the world are currently missing out on “all the connections we usually have” in the office, and urged companies to adopt a “grounded approach” to flexible working in the future.

OK commuter

ONS data also showed a rise in the level of commuters over the past week, despite government orders not to return to the office.

The report said the UK saw a two per cent hike in the number of people commuting into work from 30 September to 4 October, suggesting the PM’s orders to “work from home “for at least six months” have fallen on deaf ears. 

Currently, just over a quarter of the UK’s workforce are working remotely, while 59 per cent are operating out of their usual place of work, accordinf to the ONS.

Read more: Workplace stress reaches ‘record height’ during pandemic

City workers have been among the most defiant of govrenment orders, after separate data from Transport for London released yesterday showed the number of commuters in the capital stayed the same in the week following Johnson’s announcement on 22 September.

It comes despite major firms including Google, Natwest and Deutsche Bank telling staff not to return to the office until at least 2021, while others look at making working from home a permanent option.

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