One in three office workers want to continue working from home after the coronavirus threat is over, research suggests.
That is a major shift in employee attitudes since 2019, when one in ten said they wanted to work from home.
But there remains uncertainty about what kind of impact a widespread move to home and remote working will have on employee health, absence and productivity, while there are growing fears that it could have devastating implications for the economy.
The study, from the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR), found that 32% of people are expecting to at least partially work from home – even after the lockdown has ended.
Pablo Shah, a senior economist at the CEBR, told the Telegraph: “This seismic shift, taking place in months rather than decades, will transform the worlds of property, transport, retail, leisure and, not least, fashion.
The CEBR research also shows that between 25%-30% of employees will be working from home on any one day in 2021.
“Ten years ago, this would not have been possible.”
But experts continue to clash over what kind of impact a sharp rise in home working could have on productivity, employee health and sickness absence.
The Prime Minister and Cabinet Ministers have been urging as many people to return to their normal workplace – if safe to do so – as early as possible.
They fear that a prolonged trend towards home working could have a catastrophic impact on the economy, driving shops, cafes, pubs and other businesses under as their income dries up as workers stay at home.
It is thought that fewer than one in six workers in cities have returned to the office.