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Productivity Conflict Accelerates Return To The Office In The UK

Trust issue: 65% of UK workers believe their employer is concerned they are less productive when not in the office 

London, UK: June 28th 2022:  Employers appear to be lacking trust in their workers to decide where they are the most productive, with more people now returning to the office full-time. Whilst 76% of UK respondents said they are more productive working remotely or are just as productive as they are in the office, 65% also believe their employer is concerned they are actually less productive when not in the office.

According to the fifth quarterly Talent Index from Beamery, almost half of workers (44%) in the UK say they have been asked to return to the office full-time with almost nine out of ten (88%) saying their employer sees staff returning to the office as essential and important.  
Beamery’s Talent Index statistics, tracking the number of UK workers returning to the office full time, now reveals a sharp rise. In October 2021, 35% said they had returned to the office full-time, in December 2021 26% said the same and in March this year it was 25%.  This is compared to a jump up to 44% in the latest figures.

Trust – or lack of it – also seems to correspond with age, with 81% of workers aged 18-24 reporting that their employer is concerned they are less productive at home, versus 48% aged 55-64.

This employer crisis of confidence follows Jacob Rees Mogg and Lord Alan Sugar’s recent comments that people don’t work as productively at home as when they are in an office.  This is to some degree reflected by the data, which states that 41% of workers think their employer sees productivity as an important reason for returning to the office. Improving staff morale and team building were other reasons for the call to return according to 43%.

The data also examined worker loyalty during the cost of living crisis. 67% of employees surveyed said they were likely to accept a job offer based on securing higher pay, even if there were no other benefits. In a sign of the times, 37% of those surveyed in the UK revealed that, if their employer offered to pay the cost of living increase, they would be more likely to remain in their existing role. 

It is also increasingly clear that career progression has a big impact on worker attitudes with 81% in the UK saying that they would be more likely to stay in their organisation if they had better opportunities for internal promotion or sideways moves, suggesting that companies can improve retention levels with training and development. With 65% of UK respondents saying they would be in some way confident of finding a new job in the current environment, promoting talent mobility and reinforcing investments made in career development is timely.

Abakar Saidov, Co-Founder and CEO at Beamery, said:

“Developing a robust strategy for the future of work is a challenge for every employer. Worker attrition levels remain high which means people are still thinking with their feet in terms of how they want to work, and where.  With vacancies at an all time high, the most talented employees are likely to opt for a flexible approach to working. 

Perhaps more importantly, the best employers will become those that develop talent internally - examining how their existing workforce can fill future skills gaps, giving team members the opportunity to capitalise on learning adjacent skills and making sideways moves or achieving promotions.”


An online survey was conducted by Atomik Research among 2,507 respondents from the UK, all of whom worked in an office. The research fieldwork took place on 1st June – 8th June 2022. Atomik Research is an independent creative market research agency that employs MRS-certified researchers and abides to MRS code.

Download the Beamery Talent Index Fifth Edition.