45% of employees predict permanent changes to flexible working

45% of employees are predicting a permanent change to their employer’s approach to flexible working after the Covid-19 lockdown restriction ends, according to research by telecommunications organisation O2 Business.

It’s survey of 2,019 working adults, conducted between 20 March 2020 and 27 March 2020, also found that a third (33%) of respondents expect flexible working to increase, allowing them to work from home for at least three days a week, while the majority (81%) expect to work at least one day a week from home.

Despite a fondness for flexible working, just under a third (30%) admit that it can be lonely working from home, while just over a quarter (26%) miss the socialising aspect of working with colleagues.

Additionally, almost two-thirds (63%) of employees will be willing to live up to an hour away from their offices if flexible working becomes commonplace. Two in five (41%) of respondents would move out to more rural locations, while 16% would choose seaside towns and 12% would choose countryside areas.

Katy Liddell, director business sales and service at O2, said: “While it’s difficult to fully gauge what the long-term impact of Coronavirus will be, the survey shows us how the demand for flexible working and the role of technology in our working life is accelerating during lockdown, and how this might shape the future of the workforce. What’s clear is the ever-critical role connectivity will continue to play in our working lives going forward, wherever we are working from.

“With more of us working flexibly than ever before, for most businesses, digital infrastructure has become more important than physical infrastructure. In the face of this, businesses must continue to evolve to meet the changing needs of their workforce to ensure they continue to attract and retain talent.”