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09 Nov 2020

Nearly a third of workers would accept a cash incentive for return to the office

Joanna Bourke of Evening Standard

Around a third of people would accept a cash incentive to return to the office, according to the results of a study which showed very low enthusiasm for being back in headquarters full-time.

The poll found 31% of UK workers would be willing to accept an extra £10 or less per day to return to offices (an additional £2,540 per year per employee). A further 37% would accept between £20 and £30 additional pay per day.

Increased holiday allowance and more desk space are also listed as incentives that would encourage people back.

Locatee, which provides landlords with data on occupancy, commissioned the YouGov research in October and there were 4373 respondents. Of these, 573 were based in London.

Scores of Brits have been working remotely since March when the first lockdown started. The government's current advice is work from home if you can.

If given the choice, just 7% in the survey said they would opt to return to the office full time. Almost one in five would choose to work from home every day, whilst a third (32%) would opt to work from home most days.  

Asked to identify the key reasons for working from home, 72% pointed to ‘comfort', whilst 50% stated they feel more productive.  

However, for 32% fear of contracting coronavirus in the workplace is still a significant concern. Half feel the time spent commuting is too high, while a quarter enjoy time away from colleagues.

Despite the popularity of working from home, only 57% feel the standard of their work is equal to or higher than it was when based in an office. Just 13% of respondents feel they manage or train teams as effectively when working remotely.  

Thomas Kessler, chief executive of Locatee, said: “Requirements for UK office space will undergo a significant shift over the next year, with fewer workers needing a full-time desk. This creates an opportunity for companies to take a data-driven approach to workspace planning, and create an optimal office environment which both serves employees' needs, and saves on unnecessary real-estate costs.”

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