More than half of UK workers would consider jumping ship if a hybrid work option were withdrawn by their company

How to dodge The Great Resignation

Research has shown that over half of UK workers would consider quitting their job if, in the future, a hybrid work option were pulled by their employer.

The figures, produced by YouGov and published by Microsoft, come from a survey of 2,046 employees taken online over 7-15 October 2021. 504 "HR Decision Makers" (HRDM) were also consulted.

The report is timely considering the UK government introduced its "Plan B" restrictions last night, which include advice to work from home where possible. Clearly for the time being employers cannot pull the option.

It'll be a tricky one once these measures are loosened. The line from the UK government is that the "overall impacts [of working from home] on productivity are uncertain and vary by sectors and workers." Employees have, however, become accustomed to a bit of flexibility and, once the current uncertainty ends, will not take kindly to bosses insisting that the office is the only place to be.

That said, despite the concept of hybrid working, 53 per cent of those that had started a new job during the pandemic were onboarded remotely. 48 per cent found it harder to feel part of the company while sitting at home, 42 per cent missed forming new relationships, and 33 per cent felt they need a manager "in the room" as they got started.

Naturally, Microsoft would dearly like employers to put its Viva platform to work to give workers a virtual thumbs-up every now and again as well as being a central source of corporate information and onboarding tool. Alternatively, a socially distanced afternoon in a pub garden (if available) might also go down well.

HR decision makers have been similarly affected. 38 per cent worried that not having a hybrid model could mean top talent going elsewhere and a similar percentage weren't keen on the fully remote experience, with concerns about helping new starters "hit the ground running" from the other side of a Teams or Zoom call. That said, remote onboarding is clearly here to stay.

With, in Microsoft's words, the age of "The Great Resignation" either looming or already upon companies, trying to balance the needs of employers and employees remains a challenge, even without potential interference from government regulations.

Considering more employees could walk if a hybrid working option was pulled, leaving it in place and continuing to update processes accordingly seems the most prudent path to take. ®

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