Third of workers 'would rather quit than lose right to home working'

A study has revealed how working priorities have shifted as the third anniversary of lockdown is marked.

Third of workers ‘would rather quit than lose right to home working’ on anniversary of Covid lockdown iStock

Over a third of Scottish workers say they would rather quit their job than lose the right to work from home, a survey has found.

Those in Edinburgh were the most likely to prioritise home working over their current job.

The study, carried out to mark the third anniversary of the first Covid lockdown, also discovered that around 57% of Scottish workers say they would not consider office working again.

More than half of those who took part in the nationwide survey say they would actively seek a job that allows them to work from home anywhere in the world.

Thursday marks three years since the national lockdown was announced in a bid to tackle the spread of coronavirus.

Home working was suddenly essential for millions of people and has since become the norm for many jobs in the years following the pandemic.

Around 35% of respondents said the lockdown had made them more likely to consider leaving a job if the option to work from home was taken away from them.

Those aged between 25 to 34 were the most likely to make this response, with 53% agreeing. The 16 to 24-year-old age group was the second most likely at 48%, while the figure was 44% for 35 to 44-year-olds.

Workers in Edinburgh said they were most likely to quit, with 43% of respondents saying they would leave their job while only around 30% of Glaswegians answered the same way.

The findings come from a UK-wide national survey conducted by Opinion Matters and commissioned by Glasgow-based hiring platform Willo in order to gauge how working habits in the UK have changed since the first lockdown.

As coronavirus restrictions have eased and public life has returned to a sense of normality, many employers have made calls for staff to return to offices.

A different study commissioned by Slack earlier this year revealed around 50% of bosses want the workforce back on site.

However, over half (54%) of respondents to the Willo study said working from home would be a reason to apply for a job.

More than a third of Scots also said they will never spend as much time commuting as they did before the pandemic (37%), with those aged under 44 again less likely to do so.

Euan Cameron, founder of Willo, said: “The Covid-19 pandemic drove the biggest change to working habits since the industrial revolution. It changed what we thought was possible when it comes to work, and for the better.

“Sectors that were previously tied to offices have been liberated, with staff enjoying increased flexibility and choice, and employers reaping the benefits of more appropriate premises and access to talent once off limits due to geography or time zone. It’s a win-win.”

Mr Cameron said the three years which have passed since the first lockdown was announced is an adequate amount of time to gauge a “true shift in worker and employer behaviour”.

He added: “It’s no secret that lockdowns were the final hurdle on remote working going mainstream, but what this survey shows is that working from home is now considered a right, not a perk or privilege. If workers aren’t afforded it, they’ll vote with their feet and I think we’ll see more of that as years progress.

“It goes beyond work from home too – to work from anywhere. More than half of Willo’s workforce is based outside of the UK, and it brings huge benefits in terms of diversity, talent, and productivity. It provides access to a global talent pool rather than just regional.

“Nobody will forget the pain suffered during the Covid-19 pandemic, but if there’s a silver lining it’s the acceleration of much-needed changes in the way we live and work, and they’re here to stay.”  

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