Get Hybrid Working Done

Remote working is on the rise – in part necessitated by Covid-19 – but what does the future hold for the UK workplace and is this the death of the office? Our ‘Get Hybrid Working Done’ survey sets out to investigate.

About the survey

The research findings are based on a survey of 2,533 randomly selected respondents, consisting of UK employees over the age of 17 that had worked from home during the Coronavirus lockdown. The margin of sampling error is +/- 2 percentage points, giving a confidence level of 95%. Where scaling/ranking were not used, all responses were randomised to minimise bias.

Executive Summary

For those in a rush, we present to you the top findings of the survey:

  • Remote working is becoming a must have:
    87% of UK office workers stated their desire to be able to work from home at least some of the time.
  • However, the office is not dead yet:
    Only 26% of UK office workers say that they want to work from home on a full-time basis.
  • Hybrid working could become the new normal:
    Just shy of 70% of UK office workers stated their desire to be able to work both from home and the office.
  • But will employees get what they want?:
    Only 23% of UK office workers say their employer has confirmed they’ll be able to work in their preferred manner moving forwards.

Survey Report

Download our PDF report of the findings.

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Work Locations and Preferences

Unsurprisingly the number of normally office-based workers operating fully remotely rose significantly during lockdown. With lockdown easing, the majority are still working fully remotely, however, our research suggests that the overwhelming preference for post-Covid working is for a more hybrid approach (i.e. working partly from home and partly in the office). Worryingly some people were required to work exclusively from the office even at the height of lockdown, showing an inflexibility in some employers’ approaches. The majority of UK office workers expect to be able to work their preference in terms of their work location mix. However, a substantial number may yet be disappointed in their employer’s approach to post-Covid working.

  • Pre-lockdown 56.3% of people worked predominantly from the office with the majority citing company policy as being the primary obstacle to home working.
  • 5.2% of people still had to work from the office at the height of lockdown and nearly a quarter of people (24%) operated in a hybrid fashion.
  • Over 87% of people stated their desire to work from home for at least part of the working week.
  • Just over 3 out of 5 people (60.9%) would like to work in a hybrid fashion (partly in office, partly from home) and over a quarter (26.3%) would like to work remotely all of the time.
  • Interestingly 12.8% of people would prefer to work exclusively from the office, meaning that 73.7% of people would like to work from the office at least some of the time. The office may well look different going forwards, but it’s far from dead yet.
  • 63.5% of people either expect or have had confirmed that their employers will allow them to work their location preference.
  • 22.9% of people don’t think they’ll be allowed to work their preference while 13.6% are not sure. That’s a substantial proportion of the UK workforce that might consider themselves as being disadvantaged in terms of job flexibility. Could this lead to top talent leaving their current companies to join more progressive employers? Only time will tell.
  • The survey unearthed some interesting insights into some of the more unusual places people have been working out of during lockdown. 1.2% of respondents admitted to working from the bathroom on occasion (echoey conference calls anyone?), that’s equivalent to 158,207 people in the UK. There was commandeering of children’s playrooms and bedrooms by 3.9% and 8.5% of people respectively. And 2.7% of people took advantage of the early lockdown heatwave by working outdoors away from their home (presumably in parks and beauty spots).

Commute time savings

Office workers who are working from home are regaining a significant amount of time in their day by not having to commute. Not only will this be a tremendous boost for their work-life balance but the survey results show that, on average, employees are willing to give back a substantial proportion of their time saved as additional work hours. This is evidence that remote working could massively benefit employee satisfaction, mental health, and productivity, ultimately driving increased profits for organisations that embrace the ‘new normal’.

A commuter stands next to her car in front of a city scape
  • The average home worker regained 84 minutes in their day by not having to commute.
  • 46 minutes (55%) of this regained time was spent doing personal activities and 38 minutes (45%) was spent working.
  • This means employers could be benefit from employees working an average of 21.3 additional days each year (based on a 7 hour working day), assuming they’re working from home full-time. That’s equivalent to an entire working month (which is 21 days for the average worker).
  • From an employees’ perspective, they could regain more than 25 working days of personal time over the year (based on a 7 hour working day). That’s more than the UK’s statutory leave entitlement (excl. Bank Holidays).
  • The top 3 uses for the extra personal time were: 1) Sleeping (49.3%), 2) Spending time with family (46.2%), and 3) Exercising (43%). So employers could benefit from well-rested, happier, and healthier employees, making them likely to be far more productive in the time that they do spend working.
A lady sitting at a desk next to her laptop with updates flooding into it

Covid-19 and Digital Transformation

With Covid-19 forcing companies to rapidly embrace home working it’s not surprising that many made changes to their IT setup during lockdown. User satisfaction increased marginally for companies where investments were made in software or hardware while thankfully it only decreased slightly where companies made no changes. It seems the UK has been able to work reasonably productively from home during the pandemic and the majority of survey respondents were happy with their employer’s response to Covid-19 in terms of enabling remote working.

  • 63% of respondents said their companies made changes to hardware and/or software during lockdown with the greatest investment being seen in software (presumably Unified Communication platforms, VPN software etc.). User satisfaction with their company’s IT rose from 5.74 to 5.76 out of 7 during lockdown. Overall they rated their companies’ response to enabling remote working 6 out of 7.
  • 37% of respondents said their companies made no changes to hardware or software during lockdown. User satisfaction with their company’s IT only fell marginally due to this lack of investment, from 5.78 to 5.66 out of 7. Overall they rated their companies’ response to enabling remote working 5.94 out of 7.
A lady considering her job options with top 3 priorities listed

The Future of Job Search

With Covid-19 creating significant disruption to the UK job market (and indeed the worldwide job market) we wanted to find out what the most important factors are for UK job seekers when looking for a job. Pre-lockdown the 3 most important factors considered when looking for a new job were salary, flexible hours, and commute time. Since Covid-19 hit our shores priorities have shifted slightly, with salary still being the most important factor, then remote working making a debut as the 2nd most important, and then flexible working. So the ability to work from home will be a big part of the decision process when people consider job opportunities. It would be fair to deduce from this that companies that don’t allow remote working will find it harder to attract new talent and, by the same token, will put themselves at risk of losing their top talent.

  • Pre-lockdown the top 3 job search priorities were 1) Salary (59.7% of respondents), 2) The ability to work flexible hours (45.9%), and 3) Commute time (43.2%).
  • Post-lockdown the top 3 job search priorities are 1) Salary (59.6% of respondents), 2) The ability to work remotely (48.7%), and 3) The ability to work flexible hours (47.2%).
  • Job security is the next most important job factor, with 42% of respondents putting it in their top 3 pre-lockdown and 44.3% post-lockdown. It’s perhaps somewhat surprising that it didn’t make it into the overall top 3 given the significant uncertainty with the UK job market, the redundancies already announced and those – sadly but inevitably – yet to come.

Cyber Security Awareness

The survey also looked into the preparedness of the UK workforce for working from home from a cyber security perspective. The results showed that companies could perhaps do better in educating their employees about cyber security threats, with very few respondents classing their training in such matters as being comprehensive. While many remote workers did take some steps to mitigate cyber security threats such as changing passwords, keeping anti-virus up-to-date etc. there was still a worrying amount of people who took not mitigating steps at all. Cyber security awareness training is seen as an incredibly important step in mitigating cyber security threats, along with implementing specialist software, for example, email and web security solutions such as Mimecast. Working from home can pose additional threats on top of those experienced when working in the office.

A man in shades standing guard over his computer screen, protecting it from cyber security threats
  • Only 10.15% of remote workers stated their training in cyber security threats to be comprehensive.
  • A worrying 16.23% said they had received no cyber security awareness training at all.
  • 38% of people updated their computer password, some even changed their Wi-Fi password (20.7%), an a few reported suspect emails (16.6%).
  • A disturbing 25.4% of people sent work documents to their personal email, presumably to get around deficiencies in their company’s IT set up. This could leave a lot of organisations susceptible to a data breach.
  • A fifth of respondents (20%) have done nothing to mitigate potential cyber security threats.

About Atlas Cloud

The ‘Get Hybrid Working Done’ survey is published by Atlas Cloud.

Atlas Cloud is an award-winning IT service provider, offering managed services for SMEs and bespoke cloud solutions for larger companies.

As one of the leading managed service providers in the UK specialising in digital workspaces, we believe in office-standard working experiences, regardless of location or device used. Just as effective; just as secure. Employees benefit from flexible lifestyles; employers benefit from greater productivity.

This year, we celebrate 10 years of enabling great work from anywhere. Welcome to IT for the Modern Workplace.


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