Economic optimism lifts markets, but some workers fear return to office – business live
April 19, 2021No comment
Another survey, by Deloitte, has also found that almost one in four UK workers hope never to set foot in the office again.
Thats suggests that 7.5m people keen to permanently work from home every day of the week, even once the pandemic is over. Some say home working is more efficient, or relaxing, while others enjoy the break from commuting (avoiding cost, stress and lost time).
But even more (28%) are desperate to escape home working — and would much rather be back in the office, rather than toiling at the kitchen table, bedroom (or even garden office).
It underlines the stark split in the nation’s workforce, divided by their experiences of lockdown and their hopes for the future.
Just over two-fifths (42pc) want a balance between the extremes, with at least two days at home each week.
Most under-35s find home working challenging, indicating the difficulties involved in a short-term pandemic measure becoming a permanent state of affairs.
Will Gosling of Deloitte said: “Those coming into the workforce, in their early careers, are sponges. They can learn technical stuff anywhere, but what gives them the edge and what makes work interesting and exciting is the stuff you cannot learn in a textbook or an online course.
The split between workers keen to return to the office, and those reluctant, means that employers need to be flexible.
Canada Life’s survey of current home-workers* found that 70% of those who plan on returning to the office are happy to adapt their working practices.
Several measures would help support mental health, staff say, including:
[* the survey covered 592 UK adults that are full time workers who now work from home because of the pandemic, and took place back in January during the current lockdown]
Good morning, and welcome to our rolling coverage of the world economy, the financial markets, the eurozone and business.
Hopes of a return to economic normality have lifted stock markets to record levels… but some workers are concerned about returning to the office after more than a year of working from home.
Stocks across the Asia-Pacific region have hit one-month highs today, as investors antipate economic recovery driven by government spending and central bank stimulus packages.
MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan hit its highest level since March 18 this morning, taking its gains in 2021 to over 5%.
European and US stocks also hit record highs last week, with Britain’s FTSE 100 at its highest level since the pandemic began. Strong economic data from the US, in particularly, have created a very bullish feeling in the markets.
As Kyle Rodda of IG puts it:
Global stocks ran higher into the end of the week to clock-up fresh record highs on Friday. Market sentiment is undoubtedly bullish right now, with the VIX [volatility index] hitting new post-pandemic lows, and investors surveys and indicators like the put-call ratio and AAII investor sentiment reading indicating a market increasingly willing to load-up on risk.
At the moment, it seems like markets are in that goldilocks zone: policy is accommodative and economic fundamentals improving – but not so much to increase expectations of an unsustainable recovery, inflationary pressures and tighter monetary policy.
Covid-19 vaccination programme have also lifted economic optimism. But after more than a year of lockdowns, some workers are hesitant about returning to the office, though.
A new report from financial services firm Canada Life this morning has found that “Fear of the Office” has emerged, particularly among those who have suffered from Covid-19.
Amongst Brits that now work from home, this trend is more prevalent among those who have previously tested positive for Covid-19, with only 34% planning on returning to the office. This compares to 69% of those who haven’t suffered from the virus.
The data highlights that despite the potential for continued immunity, those who have experienced Covid-19 are more reluctant to return to work face-to-face.
Dan Crook, Protection Sales Director, Canada Life, explains that employers are likely to have three cohorts of employees: one group that cannot wait to return to the office, another that would happily work from home forever and a third that would like a hybrid-model of both.
Ultimately, it’s going to be very hard for employers to please everyone. In reality, the return to the office should be a phased approach which is sensitive to the needs of employees.
Plans should be flexible as they are likely to evolve over time.”