One in four firms will continue to allow working from home, poll finds

But a fifth of businesses say they will still require staff to be in five days a week once all restrictions are lifted

One in four businesses have said they intend to allow their staff to work from home at least some of the time, a poll has found.

The YouGov survey of 1,061 business leaders found 24 per cent would allow all their workers to work from home at least one day a week once the last of the coronavirus restrictions had been lifted. Another 18 per cent said they would do this for most of their workers.

While this is lower than at the height of the pandemic, when two in five (39 per cent) firms allowed all workers, and one in five (20 per cent) allowed most workers to work remotely, it is still a considerable increase compared to before the start of the pandemic – when just 17 per cent of businesses said they would allow all staff to work remotely.

The poll also found that one in five (19 per cent) businesses still said they would not allow any remote working after restrictions are lifted – down from more than a third (35 per cent) before the pandemic, but higher than the 14 per cent of businesses that would not allow remote working at the height of the pandemic.

A number of firms said they would ask their employees to come into work for a set number of days a week: 7 per cent would ask workers to come in one day a week; 12 per cent two days a week; 11 per cent three days a week and 6 per cent four days a week.

Just under one in 10 firms (9 per cent) said all their workers would work remotely, about the same as the 8 per cent who said this before the pandemic.

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The findings come as, late last week, the chancellor encouraged people to return to offices now that the government has dropped its work-from-home guidance.

Speaking to LinkedIn News, Rishi Sunak, who worked in finance before moving to politics, said he would not have done as well in his career if he had worked virtually.

“The mentors that I found when I first started my job I still talk to, and they’ve been helpful to me all through my career… I doubt I would have had those strong relationships if I was doing my summer internship or my first bit of my career over Teams and Zoom,” he said.

Sunak added that he had the confidence that businesses were “going to make the decisions that are right for them”, and that he expected most firms to have a gradual return to the physical workplace.