Only a quarter of companies expect staff in office full time

One of the most significant challenges businesses have faced in the last six months is attracting and retaining talent, trying to find winning ways to entice employees back into the office environment.

Only one in four companies expect their staff to be in the office full time in the coming years, research suggests.

A survey of more than a thousand businesses indicates that about one in six believe that their employees will mainly work remotely.

The study, by the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) and the technology firm Cisco, found a clear divide between sectors, with those such as finance and legal more likely to expect remote working.

Jane Gratton of the BCC said: “Our data shows that hybrid working is now part of the fabric of the modern workplace. For millions of people, logging in remotely for at least part of the working week is now routine. This flexibility is valued by employers and their teams. Less than 30 per cent of firms expect staff to be working fully in person over the next five years.

“Flexible working makes good business sense. In a tight labour market where employers are competing for skilled workers, hybrid working and flexible working more generally has become an important part of staff benefit packages.

“As well as boosting recruitment and retention, it can help employers unlock new and diverse talent pools. Employers still value regular face-to-face contact with staff, however, and our findings show only 8 per cent of businesses expect staff to be completely remote.”

Aine Rogers of Cisco added: “We know employees thrive in a hybrid working environment, as it enhances their wellbeing, work-life balance and performance.”