Tide turns on hybrid working: less than two in five working in a hybrid way

1 Oct 2023

  • Less than two in five workers (39%) are now working in a hybrid way, versus 43% of workers who report working fully in an office
  • 61% of employers say they are offering hybrid working – compared to 47% in 2021
  • 42% of private sector staff are working in a hybrid way versus just 31% of public sector employees

As the “office versus remote working” debate continues, new research by Hays has found that more professionals are now working full time in an office setting than those who are working in a hybrid way. Less than two in five workers (39%) are adopting a hybrid approach, versus close to half (43%) of workers who say they are now working fully in an office setting.

Last year, more professionals were splitting their working time between home and the workplace (43%) versus those who were working fully in an office setting (36%), suggesting the tide is turning on hybrid working. Less than one in five (18%) workers say they are working fully remotely now, versus 21% of workers last year.

The research, based on a survey of nearly 15,000 professionals and employers found that nearly two-thirds of employers (61%) are offering hybrid working, yet nearly a quarter (24%) of employers anticipate their hybrid working offering will change over the next 12 months and that they will require increased staff attendance.

When it comes to policies for different levels of staff, almost a third (32%) of employers say their organisation has different ways of working policies for staff of varying levels or seniority. However, half (50%) of employees think employers should have different policies when it comes to ways of working for junior and senior members of staff. 

Workers grapple for desks despite a decline in hybrid working

Half of organisations say they now operate a hot desking policy at their workplace, increasing to nearly two-thirds (63%) of organisations based in London. 49% say this is a new approach after reducing the number of desks in their workplace compared to 51% who say they have always operated this way. 

Meanwhile two thirds of employers (66%) say they have refitted their workplace, office or meeting rooms to facilitate a smooth hybrid working approach. This includes installing large screens, cameras and microphones for an inclusive meeting experience when people are working in different locations.  

Staff willing to forgo hybrid working for the right job

The research uncovered that over half (57%) of workers said they would accept a job in the future if it didn’t offer hybrid working. On the flip side - just over two in five (43%) of professionals admitted they wouldn’t accept a role that didn’t adopt a hybrid approach to working.

Location played in role in workers’ preference to hybrid working. Those living in the Northwest of England would be the most likely to accept a job in the future if it didn’t offer hybrid working (66%) versus just 44% of those who work in London. Overall, nearly a third (31%) of workers say the wider introduction of hybrid and remote work has influenced where they live.

Gaelle Blake, Head of Permanent Appointments at Hays UK and Ireland, comments: “It’s clear from our research that there’s still no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to how staff want to work and how flexible employers are willing to be. Yet, despite more workers saying they are now working full time in an office – it’s evident that hybrid working can’t be erased overnight.

Not only have some employers reconfigured their offices to make sure hybrid working offers a streamlined experience, but many have reduced the number of desk spaces, meaning there’s not necessarily enough physical room for all staff in one workplace.

What employers need to understand is that everyone is different – some workers may thrive in an office environment, and some won’t. If employers are asking staff back to the office more – they need to question if they are doing it for the right reasons such as facilitating more team building opportunities and offering an enticing work environment. Employers who are asking staff to come into the office more due to a lack of trust will struggle to retain staff going forward.”



Helen Flannery
Senior PR Manager
T: 020 3040 0282
M: 07548 778306

About Hays

Hays plc (the "Group") is the world’s leading specialist in workforce solutions and recruitment, such as RPO and MSP. The Group is the expert at recruiting qualified, professional and skilled people worldwide, being the market leader in the UK, Germany and Australia and one of the market leaders in Continental Europe, Latin America and Asia. The Group operates across the private and public sectors, dealing in permanent positions, contract roles and temporary assignments. As at 31 December 2022, the Group employed over 13,000 staff operating from 255 offices in 33 countries. For the year ended 30 June 2022:

  • the Group reported net fees of £1,189.4 million and operating profit of £210.1 million;
  • the Group placed around 83,750 candidates into permanent jobs and around 250,000 people into temporary roles;
  • 16% of Group net fees were generated in Australia & New Zealand, 26% in Germany, 22% in United Kingdom & Ireland and 36% in Rest of World (RoW);
  • the temporary placement business represented 55% of net fees and the permanent placement business represented 45% of net fees;
  • Technology is the Group’s largest division, with 26% of net fees, while Accountancy & Finance (14%) and Construction & Property (11%), are the next largest
  • Hays operates in the following countries: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, the Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Hungary, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, UAE, the UK and the USA


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