Don’t make hasty decisions on office closures, union tells business leaders

Employers have been urged not to rush into decisions about whether to keep or dispose of office space as Britain emerges from the pandemic.

Many employees who are normally office-based have worked from home during the pandemic

Polling conducted on behalf of the Prospect trade union suggests workers have a variety of views about how they would like to work in the future.

The research from Opinium revealed that 37 per cent of workers polled have a preference to be mostly or completely office-based in the future, while 24 per cent of those questioned want to work mostly or completely from home.

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About 40 per cent hope for a form of ‘hybrid’ working, the study found.

The desire to have access to an office for at least part of the time was highest among young workers, with 64 per cent of younger respondents to the survey saying they would like to work from an office at least some of the time.

Prospect general secretary Mike Clancy said: “This is a revolutionary moment for the future of workplaces, but there are too many in business and government rushing into decisions without thinking about long-term consequences and without listening to what workers actually want.

“There is a huge opportunity here to introduce more flexibility to workplaces and move towards a more inclusive model of work, but that can only happen if politicians and business leaders stop telling workers what they want and start listening to what they are actually saying.”

Mr Clancy added: “Most people don’t want the binary options of full office or home working, but there is a danger that we sleepwalk into a world where this is the choice workers are given.”

Opinium interviewed 4,005 UK nationals, of whom 2,428 were workers, as part of the survey, which was conducted in early April.