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‘79% of UK workers want laws to stop them being forced back into the office’

So, what do you think?

Yessi Bello-Perez

empty office
Photo by Laura Davidson on Unsplash.

Unleash Your Future of Work Almost half (48%) want some exceptions to this, such as for emergency services workers, while 31% believe it should be against the law in all cases.

  • Brits are seemingly ready to say goodbye to the office. Remote working is favored by Brits more so than by their European counterparts.
  • Half (50%) expect their employer to offer flexibility when restrictions are lifted.
  • However, almost a third (31%) believe their employer will require them to go into the office full-time, and 16% say their company hasn’t discussed workplace flexibility for the future.

Four in five Brits want to make it illegal to force employees to work from the office. Yes, you’ve read that correctly. 

According to a study of over 10,000 office workers — including 2,000 in the UK — by identity firm Okta and Censuswide, nearly four-fifths (79%) agree with changes to legislation that make it illegal for businesses to force employees to work from the office. 

Almost half (48%) want some exceptions to this, such as for emergency services workers, while 31% believe it should be against the law in all cases. This comes as the government is in discussions about extending existing flexible working rights, and while other countries have announced plans to implement legislation, such as the ‘right to disconnect’.

[Read more: Employees must have the right to disconnect, says union]

Commenting on the findings, Samantha Fisher, head of dynamic work at Okta, said: “Many Brits have spent more than a year following the rules and working from home.”

“Going forward, it’s clear they want the freedom to work on their own terms, whether that’s returning to the office, working remotely, or a mix of both.

“A change in legislation would put the choice in the hands of employees, and give organizations the opportunity to undertake assessments, reevaluate processes, and enable better methods that support working across a multi-location strategy,” she added.

The survey found that over a third (36%) of respondents either wanted to work in the office five days a week or could not do their job away from their office.

In a similar survey conducted by Okta in May 2020, 24% of workers stated that they wanted to go back to the office full-time. 

Remote working is favored by Brits more so than by their European counterparts, with 19% hoping to work from home forever, higher than the Netherlands (12%), Switzerland (14%), and France (15%). Some 43% of Brits surveyed said they wanted a hybrid approach.

While employees have individual preferences, these do not necessarily align with what they believe their employer will implement.

Half (50%) expect their employer to offer flexibility when restrictions are lifted. However, almost a third (31%) believe their employer will require them to go into the office full-time, and 16% say their company hasn’t discussed workplace flexibility for the future.

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