One in five want to work from home full time after the pandemic

Matthew SmithHead of Data Journalism
April 13, 2021, 10:07 AM UTC

Three quarters of those working from home think employers will allow them to continue to do so after crisis ends

With chancellor Rishi Sunak urging employees to return to workplaces once lockdown is over, a new YouGov survey shows that most British workers (57%) want to be able to work from home after the pandemic. This figure is made up of 37% who say they want to work from home some of the time, and 20% saying they want to work from home full time.

Only one in three workers (37%) say they want to continue never working from home.

Should workers get their wish, this would represent a marked change since before the pandemic. Before the crisis, two thirds of workers (65%) say they never worked from home. Only 11% did so full time, while a further 21% worked from home some of the time.

There is much concern about the impact that increased working from home would have on London in particular. The results in the capital aren’t enormously different from the country at large – 19% of London workers would want to work from home full time, 43% would want to do so some of the time, and 30% would want to continue going to offices and other workplaces.

One in five workers are considering moving far away from their workplaces

It is entirely foreseeable that, after a year of employees working remotely, companies will come to see that business can be conducted just as well from living rooms as it can be from the office, and allow working from home to continue once the pandemic is over.

Among Britons who are currently working from home, close to three quarters (72%) think it is very or fairly likely that their employers will continue to allow them to work from home. This belief is almost identical among those working from home in London (73%).

This raises the possibility that many workers might move to areas where the cost of living is lower if they no longer need to travel to the office. Again, this is a particular concern for those policymakers worried about the potential impact on London’s economy, given how high rent and house prices are in the capital.

Overall, 20% of workers nationally – and 29% of workers in London – say they would consider “moving to a different area of the country that is not within commuting distance of my company’s workplace”. This figure is higher still among those living in Inner London, generally the more expensive portion of the city, at 33%.

In each case, this includes 7-12% of workers who would “strongly” consider moving far away.

See the full results for Great Britain here and London here