One in four UK workers willing to return to the office full-time

The study, which was carried out by YouGov, also found that only under a third (31%) of UK workers said that productivity has decreased since leaving the office and starting to work from home, and 62% has found increased flexibility beneficial for focusing on work.

Additionally, 55% of respondents has found that having more free time due to not needing to commute to work has boosted productivity, and 44% said that working from home posed fewer distractions.

Available resources for working from home

In terms of the hardware and software participants in the study have at their disposal, 60% stated that they have been able to access to the appropriate software for their line of work.

On the flipside, however, 24% said that the software they used in the office has been unavailable at home, and therefore productivity has taken a hit, and 28% stated that their employers failed to equip them with the necessary hardware, such as a laptop.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has forced us all to think and act differently,” said Jesper Frederiksen, vice-president and general manager EMEA at Okta. “Businesses have had to learn the hard way about the need to digitally transform to survive, and it is these learnings that will help us emerge from this crisis stronger.”

Security concerns

In regards to security, just 32% expressed confidence in the online security in place when working remotely.

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Trust in security seems to vary by sector; 57% of workers in IT said that they trusted the security deployed by their employer, while this was the case for just a quarter of those working in retail and education.

“The idea of a shifted security perimeter is now everyone’s reality,” Frederiksen continued. “Many organisations were forced to quickly spin up remote work environments and security tools to enable business continuity during this time, and while we’ve seen a lot of rapid success, for many this short-term firefighting approach isn’t sustainable.

“As businesses look to securely enable a long-term remote workforce, they need a future-proof security framework, keeping their people, their data, and their infrastructure safe. That’s where zero trust comes in.”

Richard Davis, international cyber security strategist at Proofpoint, added: “Threat actors are actively using COVID-19 social engineering themes to try to take advantage of remote workers, health concerns, stimulus payments, trusted brands, and more.

“Initially, Proofpoint’s threat intelligence team were seeing about one campaign a day worldwide, they’re now observing 3-4 each day.”

Shift in work culture

Remote working has meant having to change communication methods accordingly, with workforces making use of video conferencing and instant messaging platforms in order to collaborate.

However, 57% of respondents stated that they miss having in-person interactions with colleagues, while 49% miss the relationships they have forged within the workplace.

Additionally, 10% said they miss the office benefits that were provided for them by their employer, such as free food and fitness classes.

This feeling of culture shock has varied by region throughout the UK; while workers based in London that missed having separate locations for work and home life make up 54%, 40% in Scotland agreed with this sentiment, along with just 34% in the Midlands, and 34% in Wales.

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“We all work differently and the results of our study speak to that,” said Frederiksen. “Some people perform better if they avoid their twice daily commute and head to work in their distraction-free home office.

“This is why businesses should look into introducing a dynamic hybrid of office and remote work, which means they can re-evaluate the traditional office space while providing employees with comparable benefits, flexibility, and experiential work environments in the location that best fits their needs.”

The study from Okta surveyed over 2,000 office workers from across the UK.


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Aaron Hurst

Aaron Hurst is Information Age's senior reporter, providing news and features around the hottest trends across the tech industry.

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