Over 80% of UK workers are stuck in pre-pandemic offices that aren't built for hybrid work

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What you need to know

  • A recent survey by YouGov on behalf of Microsoft Surface found that 83% of UK workers are in the same office environment as before the pandemic.
  • Organizations have been found to struggle with the transition to hybrid work, including many not investing in technology and workspaces fit for remote collaboration.
  • A previous study reported that half of employees go into the office only when required.

A recent survey by YouGov on behalf of Microsoft Surface indicates that organizations have struggled to optimize workplaces for hybrid and remote work. 83% of surveyed workers said that they're in the same office environment as before the pandemic, as opposed to a space fit for hybrid work.

According to the survey, physical offices are considered better for socializing with colleagues by 57% of people and better for strengthening relationships with colleagues by 65%. Microsoft's summary of the survey (opens in new tab) covered a general view of the results, while the full report (opens in new tab) dives more in-depth.

While in-person offices are rated highly for socializing and relationships, 79% of those that use a laptop said "the work they do is the same, regardless of where they are working from," according to the report.

Microsoft suggested that employees may have been reluctant to return to offices due to remote and in-person workflows being so similar.

"The new research indicates that staff are stuck in uncollaborative work patterns when they do venture into the office – the majority (71%) report ‘doing emails’ every time they go in," said Microsoft.

"Additionally, less than one third (31%) of office workers say that their organisation has invested in technology to improve collaboration in the past year – with just 6% of ITDMs recognising meeting room technology as a priority investment."

Alan Slothower, Surface Business Group Lead at Microsoft UK, asked if unoptimized offices are worth returning to.

"Too many UK workers are stuck in the same office spaces as before the pandemic, their organisations having made little investment in building a sociable and collaborative workspace. Employees clearly need more enticement back to offices than an employer mandate. The question for leaders is clear: Are our offices fit for today’s workforce and will they really want to come back?"

I recently spoke with Shannon MacKay, leader of Lenovo’s Smart Collaboration business about the state of hybrid work. While we didn't discuss Microsoft's survey in our interview, MacKay echoed similar sentiments about the challenges facing remote and hybrid workers.

Sean Endicott
News Writer and apps editor

Sean Endicott brings nearly a decade of experience covering Microsoft and Windows news to Windows Central. He joined our team in 2017 as an app reviewer and now heads up our day-to-day news coverage. If you have a news tip or an app to review, hit him up at sean.endicott@futurenet.com (opens in new tab).