Almost a quarter (24%) of the UK’s million financial services staff want to continue to work from home all the time even after the government lifts Covid-19 restrictions.
The Accenture survey of 1,400 UK financial services staff found that 69% of respondents want to spend a maximum of two days a week in the office, while only 8% said they want to return full-time.
Laura O’Sullivan, UK and Ireland banking strategy lead at Accenture, said workers are sending a clear message to employers: “As financial services firms develop their future work-from-home policies, the findings of this research signal loud and clear that the majority of employees at all levels want the pre-pandemic routine to be a thing of the past.”
A total 39% of staff interviewed said that they were willing to sacrifice some pay if they could work remotely all the time.
The Accenture study also found that 57% staff believe they have been more productive working remotely, and 71% said they had more free time by removing their daily commute.
UK workers begin return to the office
Research by digital coaching company Ezra of more than 2,000 office workers found that half of office staff have returned to the workplace on either a full or part-time basis.
The research found that 30% have returned to full-time office work, up from 17% in April, and 24% have returned on a part-time basis, up from 17% in April.
Ezra founder Nick Goldberg said the return to the office is having its own benefits: “It has improved productivity, fatigue and the work-life balance for many. This may sound strange, but it makes sense given that working from home has caused many to blur the lines between their personal and professional lives, working longer hours in the process while actually achieving less.
“The process of going to a place of work allows us to define clear boundaries and allows us to switch on and off more effectively when it matters,” he added. “As much as we need to perform professionally, the ability to rest and recuperate at the end of the day is also incredibly important, and this is something we’ve lost since our homes have become our offices.”
The Covid-19 pandemic and the subsequent lockdowns across the world forced businesses to pull out all the stops to enable staff to work from home. It also instigated a major rethink of future working methods.
Banks have been at the forefront of developments. For example, ABN Amro in the Netherlands announced plans to sell off its headquarters in the Zuidas business district of Amsterdam and redevelop another office in the city to support remote working.
In June 2020, Denmark’s Danske Bank said sending thousands of staff from the office to work from home would have a lasting impact on how work was structured and conducted. The bank said the experience has proven that there is untapped potential in the virtual workspace.