Majority of white collar workers not eager to return to office full-time — poll

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Only 3% of white collar workers want to return to the office five days a week once the coronavirus-related restrictions are over, according to a new poll by the UK-headquartered management consultancy Advanced Workplace Associates (AWA).

AWA surveyed nearly 10,000 employees of companies it advises worldwide, finding that the number of people seeking to work full-time in the office has dwindled drastically amid the pandemic. Before Covid-19, some 35% of white collar workers were happy to work five days a week, but the number dropped to a mere 3% during the pandemic.

“That last two years have shown us that properly managed hybrid working is beneficial to both employers and employees,” Andrew Mawson, the managing director of AWA, said.

Now, some 86% of workers desire to work at least two days from home, preferring to go into the office mid-week on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays. The same trend has been observed among all the age groups of white collar employees, AWA noted.

Forcing employees back into the office once the pandemic is over may prove to be a “potentially fatal mistake” for employers who would opt to do so, Mawson warned. He suspects it would lead to mass resignations and the workforce drifting to more flexible opportunities.

“Talented people will choose the employers that give them flexibility and – as we’ve seen with the so called ‘Great Resignation’ – employees will quit jobs if their bosses force them back into the office all the time,” Mawson said, referring to the trend observed in the West – primarily in the US – last year, when people began quitting their jobs by the millions.

“Employers have to realize that the genie is out of the bottle. Workers have seen that flexibility can work and bosses who are not sensitive to their employees’ needs will suffer accordingly,” Mawson concluded.

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