Return to Work Insights Survey Key Findings

Posted by

Vivek Dodd

on 26 Aug 2020

We commissioned the largest study of those working from home (WFH) in Britain to uncover attitudes and expectations relating to returning to work (RTW). It produced interesting results!

Return to Work Insights Survey Key Findings

Our Return To Work Insights Survey fieldwork was conducted by YouGov, who contacted 4,001 employees in Britain in July and August 2020, of which 1,909 had transitioned to WFH following the outbreak of Covid-19 in the UK.

Only the 1,909 who moved to WFH due to Covid-19 were polled for this study.

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Key findings from our Return to Work Survey

  1. The majority of workers still expect to return to their office in 2020
    45% of workers still WFH expect to return to office in 2020, 25% expect to return in 2021, 8% expect to work from home indefinitely, and 21% are unsure.

  2. Pessimism about returning to work is greater at larger firms
    Workers at large companies (over 250 employees) are more pessimistic about the prospects of returning to office. Just 42% of the larger company employees expect to be back in office in 2020 and 30% in 2021, compared 55% in 2020 and 13% in 2021 for employees at small companies (10 to 49 employees).

  3. Working from home is hugely popular
    67% would like to WFH two or more days a week, 8% would like to WFH one day a week, and 24% would like to mainly work at the office. Interestingly, however, the support for WFH was higher for those that haven't RTW yet (74%) than those who have RTW (44%).

  4. Employers are the biggest roadblock to employees returning to the office
    Over half the workers (56%) said that their employers' instructed to continue WFH is preventing them from returning to office. This figure is higher for workers at large companies (73%) than for those at small ones (35%).
  5. Re-opening of schools is not a major factor
    Just 9% said that the uncertainty around schools re-opening was preventing them from returning to office.


About the YouGov fieldwork

Our surveys were conducted by the international polling agency, YouGov from 23rd July to 5th August 2020. YouGov polled 4,001 employees across business sectors, regions, and demographics.

Of these, 2,092 participants were screened out of the survey as they were currently still working at their employer’s premises, or were on furlough, or currently not working. The 1,909 participants qualified as having moved to home-working following the outbreak of Covid-19 in the UK. Only these participants were asked their attitudes and expectations regarding their return to office or employer's premises to work.

This makes it the largest survey of its kind in the UK.

YouGov conducts its public opinion surveys online using Active Sampling for the overwhelming majority of its commercial work, including all nationally and regionally representative research. The emphasis is always on the quality of the sample, rather than the quantity of respondents.

When using Active Sampling, restrictions are put in place to ensure that only the people contacted are allowed to participate. This means that all the respondents who complete YouGov surveys will have been selected by YouGov, from our panel of registered users, and only those who are selected from this panel are allowed to take part in the survey.

Find out more on the YouGov panel methodology page.

For full results, including breakdown by sub-groups, write to

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