‘The office is not dead’ – most Midlands workers want to return

Rumours of the demise of the office are much exaggerated, according to new independent polling commissioned by the British Council for Offices (BCO), the representative body for the UK’s office sector.

Just 14% of Midlands office workers plan primarily to work from home in the future, while only 13% hope that working from home replaces the office.

This compares to one in five (20%) UK adults who plan primarily to work from home in the future, while just 16% UK adults hope the office is replaced by working from home.

Last week, Twitter, the social media company, announced that staff could “forever work from home” if they wanted to. However, that offer would only be partially taken up by workers in the Midlands, with many instead opting for “mixed working”, balancing time between the office and home.

The survey, which polled 2,000 adults nationwide, found that 40% do not plan to work from home at all, compared to 38% nationally. Meanwhile, just 12% plan to work from home for less than half of the working week, or on an ad hoc basis, compared to more than a quarter (27%) nationally.

Workers are clearly missing office life, says the survey:

– 27% miss socialising with colleagues, compared to 34% nationally

– 33% miss getting out of the house or being in the centre of town, compared to 35% nationally

– 20% miss having a physical distinction between work and leisure, compared to 25% nationally

Richard Kauntze, chief executive of the British Council for Offices, said: “Lockdown has prompted a great deal of speculation about the end of the office. However, this polling shows that just because people can do something, it doesn’t mean they will. The office remains popular because we are social beings, who work best together.

“Certainly, the way we work will change. Mixed working will probably become more popular and some of the stigma around working from home will fade away, with people working from home more than they used to. However, the office will remain our most popular place of work. Rumours of its demise are much exaggerated.”

Danny Parmar, chair of the BCO Midlands and East Anglia Committee, said: “The office is not dead. The results of this poll do not surprise me – human beings are social animals and the office is a great place, not only to socialise but also to share and develop great ideas to progress our businesses. Yes, there will be more remote working as we’ve found that technology allows us to work efficiently from home, but it will simply add to the choices we now have, rather than replacing the office entirely.”