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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.