The Out of Office is over: Half of UK workers long to get back to work this June

  • Over half of workers (54%) want to return to the workplace by the end of June
  • 56% are concerned about their safety when they return
  • 48% of UK workers are unclear on their employer’s return to work strategy
  • 60% of UK workers are worried about their job security
  • 60% of UK workers think that the world of work will ‘never be the same again’
  • 42% want to continue to work from home indefinitely.
  • But, 15% of those who have made requests have been denied.
  • Read the full results from Totaljobs at:

London (UK), Monday 1st June – The UK economy has taken a significant hit from the impact of Covid-19, with just 15% of the workforce left unimpacted by the mandatory isolation period. New research by Totaljobs, the UK’s leading job board, reveals that more than half (54%) of the nation’s workforce is ready to return to the workplace, and within the month of June.

The return to work – whenever that may be – does not come without complications. In fact, 1 in 2 employees (48%) still don’t know what their employer’s strategy is, with only 13% aware of any impending plans.

While a quarter (24%) are not sure of what measures they would want to see put in place, more than two-thirds 65% believe that it’s their employer’s responsibility to ensure all health and safety measures are met. Sadly, less than half (43%) trust their employer to guarantee this, and 12% believe that nothing will be in place to allow them to return to their workplace safely.

The Rate of Return

Despite the uncertainty over how employers will keep people safe, half (49%) of employees are still looking forward to returning to their workplace, with 54% wanting to be back by the end of June. 1 in 7 (15%) want to wait until July, dropping to 1 in 20 who hope for an August return (5%). 1 in 10 (11%) of the UK’s workers want to wait until 2021 – rising to 16% amongst Londoners.

Workplace safety measures required by the UK Government vary between industries, but 43% of UK workers say they would be interested in a staggered return to work, with employees coming back across weeks and months. Londoners, however, are keener to avoid the commuter rush and adopt flexible working practices (48%) or take a continued remote working approach (35%).

Whilst working from home has had some advantages, 56% are now missing the apportioned work-life balance and ‘work as usual’ life (46%). For 29% of workers, it’s the everyday workplace dynamics that are missed; 46% pine for the everyday workplace interactions with their colleagues.

Barriers to the Workplace Return

The main blocker for people in wanting to return to the workplace is safety (56%), and just under a third (32%) are concerned about their commute – rising significantly for Londoners (60%).

The worry around the return to work is also impacting vulnerable communities, with 15% of shielded groups concerned not only for themselves but for their family and people they work with, given the potential transmission of the virus.

Communication Concerns

Communication from employers to their workforce has impacted day-to-day working relationships during Covid-19. 60% of UK workers are worried about their job security as a result, and 70% of UK employees are now re-evaluating their careers or considering a change, including a move to different industry.

This significant figure could partly be attributed to the fifth of employees who have not felt trusted by their employers to carry out their roles in isolation. In fact, only 39% report having felt trusted by their bosses. 20% of UK employees are considering quitting their roles as a result of the way that their employer has generally handled the crisis.

The figures reveal that not all employers have been consistent in communicating with staff about their business during the crisis, with nearly as many employees claiming their company has done a good job keeping the communications open (38%) as have not (36%).

The end of the 9-5?

The pandemic has not only had an immediate impact on the UK economy. 60% of UK employees think that the world of work will never be the same again, as 58% believe that ‘normal’ has itself been re-defined. Not all changes and challenges created by Covid-19 are negative though, as 49% believe their work-life balance took a turn for the better during lockdown, and 23% report enjoying remote working.

A resulting 76% would now be interested in a long-term remote working solution, and 25% have already requested to continue in this structure. Despite the unavoidable, yet successful remote working in recent months, 28% of UK workers still don’t think that their employers would now be open to flexible working.

The ‘new norm’ may have to wait, however, with 15% of continued remote working requests, already denied by employers.

Jon Wilson, CEO of Totaljobs comments:

“Today’s figures from Totaljobs are really encouraging. It is great to see the majority of workers are willing to get back to the workplace – even better that so many are looking forward to it. However, they rightfully retain serious concerns for their overall safety and welfare.

People who return to work in the coming weeks must have reassurance from their employer that their health – and that of their colleagues and family members – is being put first.

As employers, it is our responsibility to shape this, following the latest Government advice, and help drive and develop clear, evidence-based plans for the safe return of our employees into the workplace – be it in offices, customer facing shops, schools or construction sites.

During times of non-stop change like these, it is understandable that employees are seeking as much stability and predictability as possible. We have needed to adapt over the past couple of months, but the reality is that we are all going to go through change at least one more time as we settle into a ‘new normal’.

If employers are unable to tune into the mindsets of their staff, they could fall short on planning and communication, meaning serious consequences in the long run with trust and loyalty. Totaljobs research has previously shown that a quarter of workers have become more loyal to their current employer on account of a considered response to the Covid-19 crisis.

That is why regular, clear and transparent communication between employers and their teams is essential now, more than ever.”


Notes to editors

Totaljobs research of 6,961 UK workers conducted between 12 and 15 May 2020

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About Totaljobs:

Totaljobs offers employers of all shapes and sizes access to the Totaljobs network. With a mix of generalist and specialist job boards, crossing the breadth and depth of the UK workforce, the Totaljobs network consists of Totaljobs, CareerStructure, City Jobs, eMedCareers, Jobsite, Just Engineers and RetailChoice. These brands provide access to over 20 million searchable candidate profiles, and record over 5 million applications from qualified job seekers every month.

With a head office in London and offices in Birmingham, Havant, Cardiff, Leeds, Manchester, Nottingham and Glasgow, Totaljobs Group also consists of, CatererGlobal, CWJobs and Milkround. Together these brands are the UK division of StepStone Group, one of the world’s largest e-recruitment businesses.