Only one-fifth of job seekers want fully remote work

New research shows that just 20% of job seekers want to work remotely full-time, while more than half say they would prefer a hybrid working environment.

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After 20 months of ‘Zooming’ and ‘Microsoft Teaming’, it’s tempting to think that working from home is the preferred perk for many who are looking for a new business to join.

But, the majority of job seekers are turned off from working fully remotely, according to a new survey.

Schej, a hybrid workforce scheduling app, carried out research among UK employees and managers about their experiences with different work models: remote, hybrid and office.

The report, titled Hybrid Working 2021; Manager’s & Employee’s View, reveals that only 20% of respondents said they would seek a fully remote job.

However, just over half (51%) of respondents said they’d prefer a hybrid environment, in which they have the flexibility to choose daily whether to work from home, or the office.

Planning your business’ return to the office? Read our guide to learn more about the pros and cons of hybrid working.

Why are jobseekers switched off by full remote working?

The research comes as the UK furlough scheme has officially ended, and all workers are now expected to return to the office to work. However, how often they return to the office remains at the discretion of employers.

Earlier this year, the UK government made it mandatory for employers to offer flexible working to employees with at least 26 weeks continuous service, under the new statutory flexible working scheme.

One of the biggest benefits to office working is face-to-face interaction provided by having colleagues around, as well as the speed and ease of in-person information exchange. This could explain why 13% of survey respondents said they’d prefer a model where they work solely from the office.

Employee perks have changed dramatically as the business landscape shifts post-pandemic. So what should you be offering your employees? Read our guide to today’s hiring trends to learn more about how you can attract talent to your workforce.

Another potential reason put forward for why job seekers want hybrid work is the idea of proximity bias in the workplace.

Ambitious job seekers may realise that having days in the office is an opportunity to rub shoulders with senior managers and be more likely to receive praise and promotion than their ‘invisible' fully remote colleagues.

Last week, Bank of England monetary policy committee member Catherine Mann warned this is having a negative impact on women, as more men are returning to office working post-pandemic.

Marketing founder at Schej, Graham Smith, commented: “The initial excitement of a better work:life balance and no commuting seems to have been replaced by the reality of loneliness, poor team bonding and silo information. It’s also true that not everyone has a happy home life and sometimes the office can be seen as a safe space – if only for a few hours.”

The rise of coworking spaces

The hybrid working report also examined the pros of the hybrid model. Topping the benefits list when it comes to hybrid working, 38.5% of managers said it resulted in better staff retention, followed by 29.5% who said it gave them access to a greater talent pool.

Saving on office space scored relatively low on the benefits list, with just 17% who said this was a benefit.

However, this is a particularly large advantage when it comes to small business owners. According to Headspace Group, the average saving from purchasing a coworking space when compared to a fixed lease is £4,000.

Graham Smith added: “Organisations that don’t consider a hybrid working model could find themselves fishing for candidates in a very small pool. But, telling all your staff to work from home on a Friday is not hybrid. Hybrid means giving your staff genuine choice on where they work and on what days. Harmonising that with the needs of the company requires more than a spreadsheet.”

Want to learn more about the benefits of coworking spaces? Read our ultimate guide to the best cheap coworking spaces in London to find out which is the best hybrid working option for your business.

Helena Young
Helena Young Senior Writer

Helena "Len" Young is from Yorkshire and joined Startups in 2021 from a background in B2B communications. She has also previously written for a popular fintech startup.

Included in her topics of interest and expertise are tax legislation, the levelling up agenda, and organisational software including CRM and project management systems. As well as this, she is a big fan of the films of Peter Jackson.

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