Google might have caused uproar with plans to cut the salaries of staff who work from home but media (37%) and marketing (32%) professionals would be willing to take a 10% pay cut for their home office lifestyle with only 8% wanting to return to their desks full-time.
The figures, which have been released following a survey by Hitachi Capital UK, show the marketing and media industries are among the top sectors looking for a greater home/office balance.
Overall, a quarter (27%) of UK office workers are willing to take a pay cut to work from home permanently, with younger generations leading the charge, and nearly two-fifths (39%) of Gen Z wanting to ditch their desks for good, compared to just 16% of Millennials.
However, Millennials are most likely to consider taking a pay cut (35%), followed by over 55s (25%) and 45- to 54-year-olds (24%) if it meant the reduction was less than their usual travel spend and there was increased flexibility from their employer.
On average, office workers are prepared to take an 8% pay cut for permanent, full-time home working, with a small percentage (2%) even prepared to take up to a 20% pay cut.
Lower salary brackets are driving the trend, with a third of office workers earning less than £40,000 a year most likely to take a pay cut to permanently work from home, compared to just 20% of earners over £40,000.
Media (37%) and leisure (32%) industries are the most willing to take a pay cut to work from home permanently while those working in finance (29%) and legal (26%) sectors are the least keen to have their salaries slashed.
Meanwhile, flexibility is the preferred option for marketing (48%) and media (47%) professionals while over a quarter of legal (26%) and IT professionals (25%) would rather work 100% from home.
When it comes to the battle of the sexes, the ability to balance household and family responsibilities alongside work is driving half of female decisions to work from home (49%) compared to just 37% of men.
Conversely, spending time with family is a key incentive for over a third of males (34%) to work remotely compared to 26% of females, reinforcing how employers need to consider how their flexible working policies can positively impact employees with caring and family responsibilities, the report authors note.
Socialising with colleagues is the biggest factor for returning to the office in Scotland (32%), London (28%) and the South East (26%) while greater productivity sways the North East (50%), East Midlands (46%) and Wales (46%) to opt for home working.
The research demonstrates a workplace geographical divide, with London (40%) and the Midlands (35%) most willing to take a pay cut to work from home permanently compared to just 13% of office workers in the South West.
Regions most ready to return to the office are Yorkshire and the North East (21%), as the office environment and access to a conventional desk allows increased focus and productivity. Meanwhile, Northern Ireland (37%), West Midlands (35%) and South West (31%) are the strongest supporters of the post-pandemic shift to hybrid working.
Hitachi Capital UK group marketing director Theresa Lindsay said: “The pandemic has led to a seismic shift in the way people want to work in order to effectively manage their work and home life commitments. It’s clear that the majority of employees have adapted very well to remote working whilst actually enhancing productivity.
“Moving forward, our research clearly shows that the clamour for flexible working is so pronounced that many employees are even prepared to sacrifice their salary to achieve a better work-life balance in the long term.
“With bullish GDP forecasts for the UK economy to reach pre-pandemic levels during the fourth quarter of 2021, it’s clear that employers can also seize the opportunity to tap into the wider talent pool which has transpired through greater flexibility – not only to realise their own growth ambitions but which also supports workplace diversity and inclusion.”
WFH still has a long way to go before mass take-up TBH
Back to the office? Forget it – most want flexi return
Watchdog confirms overhaul of work snooping rules
Calls grow for action on working from home snooping
You’re fired! Sorry Lord Sugar, WFH is more productive
New normal? Bah, data sector has been WFH for years
Covid piles pressure on ‘maxed out’ data professionals