Company bosses are more keen than their workers on returning to offices, official data suggests.
According to the Office for National Statistics, 38% of businesses expected 75% or more of their workforce to be at their usual office, while 36% of those working remotely thought they would spend the majority or all their time homeworking in the future.
The study signalled that following government guidelines to work remotely where possible, around 37% of Britons worked from home at some point in 2020 compared to 27% in 2019.
Around 85% of those currently homeworking were inclined to prefer a mixture of both office and homeworking in the future.
Workers with high incomes were more likely to expect a hybrid model, with 93% of those earning more than £50,000 expecting to work both from home and the office. The proportion is slightly smaller for those earning between £40,000 and £50,000 (90%).
Individuals with lower incomes, on the other hand, were more likely to expect to work from their usual office, with almost a third of workers earning less than £10,000 expecting to do so.
The ONS survey also explored how likely it is for the homeworking model to go forward. Almost a quarter of businesses that had not permanently stopped trading intend to use increased homeworking as a permanent business model from now on.
When asked why they would like to keep the remote working option, four in five businesses cited improved staff wellbeing as the main reason. Reduced overheads and increased productivity were also common reasons.
However, 28% were not sure were not sure if they intend to go forward with homeworking.
This uncertainty in company bosses could be justified by the unpredictable COVID situation, which caused the PM Boris Johnson to delay the lifting of all coronavirus restrictions with four weeks beyond June 21st.
Different age groups also had a different preference to when they would like to return to their usual workplace. Younger workers were expecting to do so sooner than older workers, with 36% of respondents between 16 and 29 years expecting this to happen in the next two months compared with less than 30% in all other age groups.
According to the ONS figures, almost half of the businesses in information and communication were likely to intend to increase homeworking in the future, but this proportion was still far lower than the proportion currently homeworking, which is just over 80%.
The industries which were less likely to adopt the remote working model in the future were accommodation and food services, where just 7% of businesses can provide for their employees to work from home. The low figures are justified by the nature of those businesses, which usually requires physical presence of workers.
If you want to read the full report, go to https://cutt.ly/EnLzwUG