Europe Fintech

Working Hard or Hardly Working? How the UK Workforce Has Been Affected by COVID-19

Earlier this week, two new studies have been made available that give an insight into the public’s thoughts on returning to work during the pandemic, as well as their financial priorities.

A new study by Toluna has explored people’s priorities during the pandemic, finding that the pandemic has forced people to take their personal finance and financial security more seriously – due to either a lack of work or a reduced take-home pay

28% of people surveyed were extremely concerned about their personal financial security in regard to the coronavirus outbreak, with 37% planning to think more carefully about what they spend their money on.

This comes as the government’s furlough scheme begins to end, redundancies soar and the news that employment in the UK has fallen by the largest amount in a decade in the three months from April to June.

While the UK is officially in a recession, lockdown regulations have been eased significantly in the past few months, with non-essential businesses allowed to reopen and many people heading back to work despite pockets of local lockdowns.

In terms of the traditional office environment, a study from Theta Financial Reporting shows that 57% of people based in London say they do not want to go back to a normal way of working, with  35% believe working in a traditional office environment will have a negative impact on their mental health, therefore negatively affecting their productivity.

70% of Londoners do not want to head into the capital via public transport, despite many offices and workforces in Britain opening again.

Wealth Management company Schroders has announced, “there will be no mandated requirements to be in the office” as long as staff continue to be contactable during their contracted hours. Similar announcements have come from PwC and Aviva, who are putting similar work from home policies in place.

Chris Biggs, managing director and Founder of Theta Financial Reporting saidIt is refreshing to see large firms take note of their employees’ concerns in regards to travelling into central London offices. From the commute to boosted productivity when working from home, there are numerous benefits to flexible working that this period has uncovered for millions of employers and employees alike. Business leaders would do well to realise this and adapt now to pivot their business, remove unnecessary overheads and plan for a post-COVID future.”

Employers are also considering the possible economic benefits of a continuation of home-working, with offices likely getting smaller and running costs going down, as well as an increase in productivity that is sometimes seen with remote working.

Interestingly, 49% of business leaders in London said that they see the working environment changing for the better due to the impact of Covid-19.


  • Gina is a fintech journalist (BA, MA) who works across broadcast and print. She has written for most national newspapers and started her career in BBC local radio.

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