Two in five office workers cannot choose their working location, despite new flexible working rights

Despite new Government legislation1 giving workers the right to request flexible working from their first day of employment, a new study has revealed four in ten (40%) office workers do not have a choice on whether they work from home or the office.

Hammonds Fitted Furniture quizzed 1,000 UK office employees and found that currently, when workers get a say in their working location, over half (57%) opt to work from home the majority of the time.

In contrast, when companies decide their employees’ place of work, less ten per cent (7%) are permitted to work from home full time.

When down to the employer, the majority (60%) of workers are asked to go into the office every day, while a third of employees (33%) are given a hybrid mix with set home and office days that they have to follow.

Despite over two-fifths of workers (43%) sharing their preference is to work from home, they now find themselves having to head back to the office at their employer’s request.

A further third (32%) revealed that although they like working from home more they are returning to their offices in an effort to save money on bills. This follows research2 revealing remote workers use 75% more gas over the winter months and a 25% more electricity than those heading into the office full-time.

Respondents also revealed the top benefits to working from home, with the most common being the money saved on commuting (69%).

Others top reasons given for preferring home working included having a better work/life balance (67%), finding it calming (65%), and being able to get chores done alongside their work (59%). 

In comparison, when asking about the perks of office life, employees said that the social aspect of meeting and chatting to co-workers (52%) and the change of scenery (52%) were the biggest draws.

Half (51%) of office workers added that physically going to work allows them to put a boundary between work and home, promoting a better work-life balance.

Hammonds Furniture also quizzed workers on where they opt to spend most of their time when working from home.

They found that while most of those surveyed (63%) use a regular or standing desk as their main workstation, one in five (20%) don’t use a desk at all, instead working from their sofa (4%), kitchen sides (3%) or even their bed (3%).

Top working from home locations % Of UK workers working from this location
Home office or desk 52%
Standing desk 11%
Kitchen or dining table 6%
Sofa 4%
Kitchen sides or countertops 3%
Landing or hallway 3%
Bed 3%

Of those that work from a regular desk, just a third (34%) said that their workplace provided them with office furniture.

Nearly half (46%) of those that work from standing desks said their employer supplied their desk.

Whilst there is some obligation for employers to ensure staff have the appropriate equipment when working from home, this doesn’t necessarily cover office furniture – so for the majority of workers, it’s left up to them to set up a home office that supports their wellbeing.

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