New stats show more than half a million Brits won't return to the office full-time

The survey questioned 50 of the UK's biggest employers.

(Image credit: Getty Images/Maskot)

The survey questioned 50 of the UK's biggest employers.

New research carried out by the BBC has found that over a million people in the UK will not be asked to return to working in the office full time.

Out of 50 firms asked, 43 said that they'd lean towards a new form of hybrid working whereby staff worked from home for a few days a week, and from the office a few days a week, too.

The general split indicated that people would be working from home for around two to three days a week.

Only four of the 50 companies surveyed said that they weren't so keen on the idea of both working from home and working in an office, saying that the idea was 'under review.'

The research, conducted by the BBC, asked 50 employers - including retailers, banks and more - what their back-to-the-office protocol looked like. This spanned 1.1 million UK workers.

Under current government guidelines, workers are advised to stay at home unless it's absolutely necessary not too.

Guidelines look set to change on June 21st when the government plans to end all current social distancing restrictions.

Mark Read, chief executive of advertising firm WPP, said to the BBC: "We're never going to go back to working the way we used to work."

"People are working from home three to four days a week so we probably need 20% less space, but we're not going to do that if everyone's working from home on Mondays and Fridays."

Many other companies are putting the onus on the employee, letting them make their own decisions about when they work from home and when they head into the office.

Some business owners who rely on offices being nearby to make money have raised questions about what this means for them and their employees.

Joao Almeida, a worker at Panda Cup Coffee, said to the BBC: "We rely really heavily on the office trade."

"There are locations that have 5,000 people, but only 140 come to the building with most working from home or maybe once a week coming in. That makes it really difficult."

While there is definitely a shift to a more hybrid way of working, few companies are shutting their offices altogether.

According to BBC stats, Capita has already shut 49 offices out of a total of 294. Similarly, Deloitte has shut offices at Gatwick, Liverpool, Nottingham and Southampton.

WPP employee Mark Read shared with the BBC that he's worried about what effect working from home will have in the long-term.

He said: "Advertising and creative industries are something you learn from your colleagues and you can only do that, really, if you're around them in an office."

How do you feel - are you looking forward to heading back to the office or do you prefer working from home?

Ally Head
Senior Health, Sustainability and Relationships Editor

Ally Head is Marie Claire UK's Senior Health, Sustainability, and Relationships Editor, nine-time marathoner, and Boston Qualifying runner. Day-to-day, she works across site strategy, features, and e-commerce, reporting on the latest health updates, writing the must-read health and wellness content, and rounding up the genuinely sustainable and squat-proof gym leggings worth *adding to basket*. She's won a BSME for her sustainability work, regularly hosts panels and presents for events like the Sustainability Awards, and saw nine million total impressions on the January 2023 Wellness Issue she oversaw. Follow Ally on Instagram for more or get in touch.