The beginning of 2020 brought with it a few global surprises. First, the COVID-19 pandemic. Then, the subsequent worldwide work-from-home migration, when millions of workers around the world were forced to quickly adapt to a new remote reality. For many organisations and individuals, this was their first encounter with remote work. So how did they fare? As it turns out, not only did UK workers embrace remote work, they have now grown to expect it. 

For Owl Labs’ 2020 UK State of Remote Work report, we uncovered remote work statistics and work from home trends to provide you with a comprehensive view of the current state of remote work and the increasingly remote expectations of modern UK workers. 

To better understand the current state of remote work in the UK, and how to move forward with employees’ best interests in mind, here are the key statistics and trends you should know from the Owl Labs 2020 UK State of Remote Work report.

UK Remote Work Statistics

1. 84% of UK full-time workers are planning on working remotely in some form for the rest of 2020

When full-time workers in the UK shifted to remote work earlier this year, no one could have predicted that the work from home mandate would go for as long as it did. And with COVID-19 remaining to be a very real public health concern, they are not rushing to return to the office. With an overwhelming majority of full-time employees planning to work remotely through the end of the year, it is clear that the future of work in the UK is flexible.

2. 41% would be likely to resign if they were forced to return to the office against their will

If it wasn’t clear before, it is now: the expectations of UK employees have shifted — and they don’t look like they will be changing back any time soon. With 41% of full-time workers agreeing that they would resign if they were given a mandate to return to the office or being terminated, they would resign. Statements like these leave employers with little choice when it comes to extending their remote work policies.

3. 1 in 2 office workers (46%) would be likely to resign from their current role if their company were to cut their pay as part of cost savings across the business

Speaking of employees resigning, almost 1 in 2 UK office workers (46%) would resign from their position if their company cut their pay to save costs across the business and 41% would resign if their employer cut their pay if they chose to move to a suburban or rural location to work from home permanently. 

4. 44% of UK full-time workers plan to work a full five day working-week from home, with 55% planning a more hybrid role with one to four days in the office

While UK workers have made it clear that they intend to continue working remotely, they are also open to adopting hybrid work schedules. However, these hybrid schedules vary from person to person. With 44% of full-time workers saying they plan to work a full five day working-week remotely, and 55% choosing a more on-site leaning hybrid schedule of one to four days a week spent working in the office.

5. 45% of office workers are willing to take a pay cut in order to continue working from home in the long-term

Pre-COVID-19, when remote work was a benefit (dare we say perk…) granted by employers, instead of a necessity enforced by the government to prioritise public health, it was already favored heavily by modern employees. Now, as we move toward a post-COVID-19 lifestyle, 45% of UK employees agree with 23% of US workers that they would take a pay cut in order to continue working remotely. With 16% of full-time UK office workers stating that they would be willing to take a paycut of up to 2% and 15% agreeing that they would take a pay cut of up to 5%—  the equivalent to £1,518 a year when looking at the average full-time UK salary of £30,353.

6. 74% believe their company should pay for, or provide, office technology equipment when they work from home

Working remotely is an extension of working on-site, therefore employees who spend time working remotely as part of a full-time remote work policy, a flexible work schedule, or a hybrid schedule should be allotted the same technology support as their fully on-site counterparts. Therefore, it comes as no surprise that 74% of full-time office workers believe that their company should pay for, or provide, office technology equipment—including laptops, printers, and extra screens—when they work from home.

7. 1 in 2 believe their company should provide office furniture to work from home

Speaking of having employers financially support remote workers on par with on-site workers, 50% of workers believe that their company should provide office furniture — such as desks and ergonomic chairs — for those employees who work from home. Additionally, 50% of office workers believe that their companies should contribute to WiFi and phone bills, and 48% believe they should contribute to their electricity bills when they are working remotely.

8. 62% of workers believe their employers should provide free COVID-19 tests

For those employees who have returned to work from the office some or all of the time, 62% of them believe that their employers should provide all on-site workers with free COVID-19 tests. With 65% of employees also saying that their employers should provide them with free PPE — like face masks, gloves, and antibacterial gel and wipes — when working from the office it is clear that although some employees are willing to return to the office, they are doing so with an abundance of caution.

With a recent spike in COVID-19 cases across the UK, only time will tell if office workers will continue returning to on-site work. But if our 2020 UK State of Remote Work has made anything clear, it’s that modern employees are in no rush to return to their offices, and instead are embracing the future of remote work.

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