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The Big 'Return To Office' Is Still Dividing Bosses and Employees

·2 min read

Are you team WFH (work from home) or team back to office?

The answer might depend on whether you’re a senior manager or a regular member of staff.

The majority of workers in a survey said they would prefer working from home either full-time or on a hybrid basis where they come into the office on some days.

Managers, however, would prefer employees to be back at their desks.

Research by YouGov for the BBC found that 70% of 1,684 people surveyed predicted that workers would “never return to offices at the same rate”.

But senior leaders surveyed said that workers staying at home would negatively impact creativity and collaboration (even if only 38% of ordinary workers said the same).

Whether you see eye-to-eye with your manager on the return to office might depend on where you work though.

Leaders at big firms such as Apple and investment bank Goldman Sachs have rejected proposals for flexible working, with the latter even calling WFH an “aberration”, saying home work doesn’t “suit the culture” of Goldman Sachs.

Bosses and staff can't agree on the return to office. (Photo: Jay Yuno via Getty Images)
Bosses and staff can't agree on the return to office. (Photo: Jay Yuno via Getty Images)

Announcing his winter Covid plan on Tuesday, prime minister Boris Johnson said the government might need to recommended the public work from home again later this year, depending on cases and pressure on the NHS.

Work and pensions secretary Therese Coffey also told BBC Breakfast that the UK will need to keep some rules to tackle the winter.

When asked about the work from home advice, Coffey indicated it could be an option. She also suggested making sure statutory sick pay “can be paid from day one rather than day four” could be an option. She concluded: “These are the sensible measures I think that we’re going to keep.”

According to YouGov research, more than three-quarters of people believe their boss will allow them to continue working remotely. But the research did highlight how some inequalities might be exacerbated in the pandemic.

More than 60% of poll participants thought young people would struggle to progress without face-to-face contact or in-person mentoring.

This is a worry in the context of separate ONS figures that show under-25s in particular were hit hard by job losses or reduced hours at the onset of the pandemic.

But there are also positives of retaining an element of WFH. Half of the workers surveyed thought that women’s careers might be boosted by home-working, with childcare duties being less of a hindrance.

What the long-term effects of flexible working are, only time will tell.

This article originally appeared on HuffPost UK and has been updated.

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