May 30, 2024

Remote Resistance: Despite Company Mandates, British Employees Seek Flexibility

Morgan McKinley Survey Reveals Demand for Hybrid Work

Four years after the pandemic, the British workforce is still debating the merits and downfalls of hybrid work patterns. Insights by global talent services company: Morgan McKinley as part of its Global Workplace Guide found that:

  • Preference for Hybrid or Remote Work: 93% of respondents in the UK express a strong preference for continuing in a hybrid or remote work model
  • Employee Satisfaction: Professionals working in hybrid models express the highest contentment with their work patterns, with 51% willing to forego pay raises for desired flexibility
  • Remote Rewind: Despite employee preferences, 40% of companies are urging staff to return to the office more regularly
  • Employee Dissatisfaction: Onsite workers show higher rates of actively seeking new employment opportunities compared to hybrid and remote workers
  • Impact on Talent Attraction: Flexible working arrangements emerge as a crucial factor in talent attraction and retention, with 75% of hiring managers highlighting its importance

The survey found that in the UK, 1-2 days in the office is the favoured weekly working pattern for 52% of professionals, with a further 22% selecting 3-4 days. Only 3% are happy to be in the office for the full 5 working days. The survey also revealed that half of employees would even skip a pay raise if it meant they got their desired flexibility.

Despite employee preferences, 56% of companies globally – 60% of British companies are urging staff to increase their in-office presence, indicating a disconnect between employer and employee expectations. Our research also showed the potential attrition of employees with 56% of respondents who work onsite five days a week are the ones most actively looking for a new job in the next six months compared to hybrid employees (41%) and fully remote employees (44%).

The survey also found regional differences from companies mandating for employees to return to the office with Hong Kong (91%), Australia (65%), Japan (62%), Singapore (61%), and China (59%) exhibiting higher rates of return-to-office mandates compared to 40% in the UK, 40% in Canada and 42% in Ireland.

David Leithead, COO,, Morgan McKinley, commented: “Four years post-pandemic, the global workforce is still grappling with the ongoing debate surrounding hybrid work models. Simply mandating a five-day-a-week office presence would likely encounter resistance and productivity dips. Our research underscores the resounding preference for flexibility, with 86% advocating for continued adoption of hybrid arrangements.”

“Companies, therefore, need to implement a strategic and mindful approach to this remote rewind. Striking the balance between flexibility and practicality calls for close collaboration through open communication channels and understanding the motivations driving employees’ desires for flexible work arrangements. 2024 will be a pivotal year to see if organisations see flexibility as not just a perk but a fundamental aspect of workplace cultures creating a more inclusive, productive, and resilient workforce.

The Morgan McKinley Global Workplace Study gathered insights about various hiring and workplace trends by surveying over 3400 professionals and 650 employers/hiring managers globally.

 

About Morgan McKinley

Morgan McKinley is a global talent services expert, offering the full spectrum of solutions to meet employers’ and jobseekers’ needs. With 19 offices in 10 countries and nearly 1000 employees, it provides 3 distinct solutions for customers. Morgan McKinley Recruitment Solutions encompassing deep expertise across 10 professional disciplines offering temporary, contract and permanent recruitment; Morgan McKinley Executive Search for targeted C-Suite talent searches; and Morgan McKinley Talent Solutions including RPO, MSP, Project Recruitment and more.

Morgan McKinley is part of Org, a more human kind of professional services company that harnesses the power of talent to bring better business outcomes for clients across the world through advisory, managed services and talent services.

https://www.morganmckinley.com