One in six office staff would quit if denied flexible working

About one in six white-collar workers want to change jobs because their employer is forcing them to return to the office.

According to a survey of 1,000 people by the messaging service Slack, those who work in IT, telecoms, sales, legal and marketing are the most determined to continue working from home and are considering switching roles if they are unable to do so.

The research found that while a failure to increase staff pay and a poor bonus scheme were the most common reasons cited for wanting to quit, being forced back into the office also played a part.

Last week Boris Johnson announced that workers could immediately return to their offices, before the remaining plan B coronavirus measures were lifted this week.

Civil servants in Whitehall have been told to return to their desks, with Steve Barclay, the Cabinet Office minister, ordering departments to get back to full office capacity “at the earliest opportunity”. His call was criticised by civil service unions, with the FDA arguing that ministers were “clinging to an ideology of presenteeism”.

The research by Slack showed that 16 per cent said they were contemplating quitting their job if they were ordered to go back.

The company urged employers to update their working practices to reflect the modern workplace.

“With the significant worker reshuffle expected to continue this year, businesses must be in tune with what workers really want,” Chris Mills, who works for the company, said.

“Our research suggests that offering flexible or remote working, extra days off and salary bonuses will help businesses attract and retain staff.”

A fifth of respondents expressed concern that bosses would favour staff who decided to come into the office.

Clive Watson, chief executive of City Pub Group, has said that young people especially would benefit by returning to the office by gaining access to the mentors they need to guide them through their careers.