9 in 10 want a fully flexible return to work, says IPA survey

After a year of stress and burnout, and with an uncertain summer on the horizon, 89 per cent of UK adults want to work remotely from home or the office according to whim.

The IPA survey assessed the general public mood, but would probably find similar results if it had addressed adland specifically. The least favourite option was a full return to the office, which only a third of respondents said they could tolerate, although two-thirds of first jobbers were keener to mix with colleagues on a daily basis.

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Four out of five adults thought they would need their employer to provide mental wellness initiatives to ease any proposed return to the office.

Paul Bainsfair, director general of the IPA, spelled out the implications for advertising. He said: “The world has changed in the last year. How we feel about work/life balance and the commute will influence not only the work we create and media we select but the nature of our own offices.”

Agencies will face a long term challenge to tempt people out of their homes for all sorts of reasons, but most, it is clear, want there to be an office available should they want to get out of the house, and collaborate of even just socialise with colleagues. There won’t be a one-size-fits-all solution, which will provide an ongoing challenge for leaders who will need to be able to plan, and to treat everyone fairly.

Jamie Britton, insight manager at the IPA, said: “After more than a year of getting accustomed to the flexibility afforded by remote working, the flexible workplace is now writ large. As our survey suggests – and as reported in our qualitative work among agency members – a fully flexible model is what people want and expect.”

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About Emma Hall

Emma Hall is a journalist and editorial consultant and is the former Europe Editor of Ad Age, where she covered European marketing advertising, digital and media stories. She has written for newspapers including the Financial Times, The Guardian, The Times and the Telegraph, and was previously a section editor at Campaign. Emma started her career in New York as a researcher for a biography of Keith Richards.