67% of staff are looking forward to connecting with colleagues when returning to the office

67% of employees look forward to reconnecting with work colleagues

Just over two-thirds (67%) employees in the UK are most looking forward to communicating with their fellow colleagues when returning to the office, according to research by CIPHR.

The study of 1,000 UK employees, published in September 2020, also found that over half (53%) are looking forward to free food and drink, while 51% are looking forward to after work drinks with their peers.

Just under six in ten (59%) of those with families are looking forward to having a reason to leave the house, with 36% that are not living with family members citing this as the most exciting aspect of returning to the office. Over one-third (36%) are looking forward to having a working space again, with 34% looking forward to having no distractions, such as kids or television.

Rounding off the top ten reasons why employees are excited to return to the office includes staff looking forward to regular birthday cakes (22%), breakout spaces (20%), and making use of office wifi (13%).

During the Covid-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic, 33% of employees aged 18-34 have reflected on what office work was like before lockdown restrictions began, believing that they have taken their peers at work for granted, with a further 29% planning to make more of an effort when they do return to the office.

Additional findings revealed that 47% of furloughed employees are looking forward to returning to work due to missing their job, with an additional 41% being eager to cure their boredom.

David Richter, director of marketing at CIPHR, said:  “It is clear from our research that the lack of in-person social interactions during lockdown has had a big impact on the UK’s workforce, with so many looking forward to catching up with colleagues.

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“While technology plays a significant and important role in helping people stay connected – in and out of the office – loneliness and a lack of connection with colleagues is a real risk when working remotely.

“As some UK organisations invite their people back to the office, employers would do well to consider new ways to promote co-worker interactions, both in-person and virtually, and make time and space in daily schedules to enable employees to connect with their colleagues.”