Half of professionals working longer hours at home, poll finds

Move to hybrid working is an opportunity to ‘re-evaluate’ pressures put on employees during the pandemic, experts say

More than half of Brits worked longer hours when working from home than before the pandemic, a poll has found.

The survey of 8,301 professionals and employers conducted by Hays found that 52 per cent reported working longer hours when working remotely than before Covid.

Of these, a quarter (25 per cent) reported working more than 10 extra hours a week, while another two in five (41 per cent) said they put in between five and 10 extra hours a week.

The survey also found two-fifths of those polled (40 per cent) worked during their annual leave over the last 12 months, rising to 52 per cent for workers at mid-management level.

As of May this year, when the poll was conducted, 46 per cent of those who had worked remotely were still doing so.

Simon Winfield, managing director of Hays UK & Ireland, said that with many employers looking to move to a hybrid working model, now was an opportunity to “re-evaluate the pressures that may have crept up on staff during long periods of remote working”.

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“Some staff may be continuing to work from home permanently, or for a portion of the week, so employers need to assess how staff are managing their time to avoid the need to be ‘always on’,” said Winfield.

He added that as many employees were looking to holiday in the UK this year, it was more important that managers put structures in place to ensure workers took full advantage of their leave.

“It will be these employers who have the most engaged employees and will be most attractive to prospective employees,” he said.

The findings come as the government yesterday moved to quell suggestions that civil servants who worked from home could be paid less.

An unnamed cabinet minister had told the Daily Mail that civil servants who refused to travel to the office could face a pay cut, arguing that by not paying commuting costs workers would be receiving a de facto pay rise that would be unfair to those still travelling into the office.

However, speaking to the BBC’s Today programme yesterday (9 August), business secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said there would still be flexible working in his department.

“I’ll be encouraging them to come in, but of course there’ll be a degree of flexibility and that’s what we’ll be working to achieve,” he said.

“I think flexible working is something that is here to stay, but I’ve always said that I think it’s up to employers and employees to come to their own arrangements depending on the needs of the company,” Kwarteng said.

“I don’t think it makes sense to have a government diktat telling people exactly how many hours they’re going to spend in the office.”

A government spokesperson said the civil service would take advantage of the benefits of both home and office-based working.