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Almost a third of Scots office workers not allowed hybrid working – research

Almost a third of office workers have been told to work from their company’s premises five days a week, new research has found (Lauren Hurley/PA)
Almost a third of office workers have been told to work from their company’s premises five days a week, new research has found (Lauren Hurley/PA)

Almost a third of office workers have been ordered back to their company’s premises full time, with no option for hybrid working, research has found.

Research for Flexibility Works – a Scottish Government funded organisation which works with employers to develop flexible working practices – found 29% have been told to work from the office five days a week.

Meanwhile, 16% have been asked to go into the office on a weekly basis, but with bosses leaving it up to their staff which days they go in.

And more than a fifth (22%) have been given complete freedom to decide when they go into office, the research found.

Flexibility Works co-founder Lisa Gallagher said hybrid working was the ‘new normal in Scotland’ (Joe Giddens/PA)

Overall, nearly three quarters (71%) of office workers now have some kind of hybrid working arrangement – with those who work in this way spending on average 2.1 days a week in the office and working elsewhere the rest of the time.

However, Lisa Gallagher, the co-founder and director of Flexibility Works, said they were “surprised” that hybrid working was not an option for almost a third of office staff.

She said: “Our research shows hybrid working is the new normal in Scotland, with a clear majority of office workers being offered a hybrid arrangement. But we were surprised that for three in 10 it just wasn’t an option.

“We know some employers have been influenced by headlines about high-profile companies asking people to spend more time in the office, while some traditionalists want to go back to the way things were before the pandemic.

Flexible working allows Toni Dowling, left, to work as an on-call firefighter (Flexibility Works/PA)

“Others are concerned about issues like culture and connection and assume – wrongly – the only way to preserve that is by having people in the office full time.”

She added the move towards hybrid working since the pandemic was “the biggest shake-up to working patterns in over a century” with many firms still “very much in the test and learn phase, including defining what hybrid means”.

But she urged bosses to make “evidence-based decisions”, adding that “our evidence shows hybrid – implemented well – is having a positive impact”.

Research by Flexibility Works found hybrid workers still feel connected to their colleagues and the company they work for.

According to the data, 80% of hybrid workers feel connected with their team and wider organisation, compared with 77% of staff who have been told be in the office full time.

Also, 70% of hybrid workers feel aligned with their organisation’s values, compared to 69% of workers told to work in the office full time.

And almost three quarters (74%) of hybrid workers say their working culture is positive and strong, compared with 69% of workers told to work in the office full time.

Toni Dowling told how she uses hybrid working and reduced hours in her PR job with Muckle Media so she can also be an on-call fire fighter in rural Perthshire.

The 26-year-old from Killin said her employers had been “really flexible”, adding: “I work in the office about once a month and always look forward to it.

“But I mostly work from home so I’m on-hand if an emergency call comes through.

“I feel like I have the best of both worlds, with two different but brilliant careers.”