Third of workers not expecting office return until at least next year

Homeworking looks like the new normal, as research shows that those employed by bigger companies are more likely to delay going back to their workplace.

One in three British workers does not think they will be back in their office or another workplace until at least next year, according to a new survey.

Twenty-five percent of staff said they expect to return to their place of work in 2021, while 8% said they are likely to work from home indefinitely.

Many Britons, especially those with office jobs, switched to working from spare rooms and kitchen tables across the country when the coronavirus pandemic forced the country into lockdown earlier this year.

But 45% of the 4,001 workers polled by YouGov said they expect to be back in the office before the end of December.

Just over a fifth of employees were unsure when they would return.

Vivek Dodd, chief operating officer of e-learning and compliance company Skillcast, which commissioned the research, said: “This latest study shows that working from home will remain with us for the foreseeable future.

“These are warning signals for companies to invest in strengthening measures to support their remote workers and manage their compliance risks.”

Staff at bigger companies – those with more than 250 employees – were more likely to think it could be a while before they are back in the office.

Only 42% expect to return this year, and 30% say next year is more likely.

This compares with small companies with between 10 and 49 staff, where 55% expect to be back this year, and 13% say next year.

More than half of workers – 56% – said their employer is telling them to continue to work from home.

Only 9% said they are being prevented from returning to the office because of uncertainty over when schools will reopen.

Four in five said they would prefer to regularly do at least one day a week from the comfort of their own homes, while an additional 7% would like the flexibility to work from home when needed.

– YouGov surveyed 4,001 adults between July 23 and August 5 in an online poll of people selected from its database of more than 800,000.

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