Just 3% of skilled workers want a full office return – and will quit if forced to

Just 3% of white-collar workers want to return to the office five days a week, according to a poll by management consultancy Advanced Workplace Associates, which warned employees will quit if bosses force them back full-time.

A full 86% of employees want to work from home at least two days a week, the consultancy said after surveying nearly 10,000 people around the world across areas including finance, technology and energy.

All age groups felt the same way, they added. Workers reported a preference for commuting into cities on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, raising the prospect of empty offices for the rest of the week.

Many banks are geared up for flexible working after two years of Covid lockdowns, with the likes of Citigroup, HSBC Holdings and NatWest Group allowing hybrid working for many staff. Some fintech companies like Revolut and Eigen Technologies are even allowing staff to work entirely remotely.

“Employers have to realize that the genie is out of the bottle,” Andrew Mawson, managing director of AWA, said in a statement. “Workers have seen that flexibility can work and bosses who are not sensitive to their employees’ needs will suffer accordingly.”

NatWest expects around 87% of its 60,000 staff to split work between home and the office in the longer term.  For now about 10,000 of its staff, including traders and employees in branches and data centers, still work entirely in the office, Sam Bowerman, one of the bank’s human resources directors, said in an interview earlier this month.

“We’re keen to avoid mandating X number of days per week. It’s customer-led,” Bowerman said. “So far we’ve seen no detriment to productivity and the flexibility has produced a lot of goodwill.”


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Just 3% of skilled workers want a full office return – and will quit if forced to