51% prefer to work in the office with flexible hours

flexible hoursHalf (51%) of office-based employees would prefer to work in the office with flexible hours, compared with 41% who would rather work from home with structured hours, according to research by MHR.

The HR, payroll and finance provider surveyed more than 1,200 full-time UK and Ireland office workers to learn how their experience working remotely during the Covid-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic compared to their usual work practices. It found that 41% noticed a decrease in support from management and team members while working from home, while 42% said there was a lack of conversation.

This resulted in loneliness for 37% of respondents, with 39% of employees at organisations that employ 100 or more people and 42% of new joiners among the worst affected. A quarter (24%) said the lack of social interaction was reflected in their work output and made them less productive, and 26% found it contributed to burnout.

One in 10 (11%) said working from home had a negative impact on their career progression, and only 36% were asked about their preferred work environment before being told to work from home.

In addition, 90% said more could be done by their employer to address emotional wellbeing, with 50% saying considerably more needs to be done. Three-fifths (60%) ranked an employer focus on mental and emotional wellbeing as the most important, with 47% finding financial wellbeing to be critical.

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Anton Roe, chief executive officer at MHR, said: “What is clear from our research is the atmosphere and [camaraderie] that is present among employees in the office simply cannot be replicated in a remote working environment. Instead, HR teams will see more success from offering a flexible working framework.

“If employers do not address issues such as employee engagement, they will soon see standards drop across the board. Flexible working puts employees in control over their own hours and work environment, allowing them to tailor their ways of working to their own needs and resulting in increased engagement in the long run.”