People are spending more time in the office, but no sign of a full return for many

Many of the UK’s tech workers are embracing a structured return to spending more time in the office, according to a new report. According to the survey of 2,000 people from Techspace, there has been a ‘notable shift’ towards embracing structured office time, with Monday to Wednesday emerging as the top choices for in-office workdays. The report claims that this preference indicates a growing recognition of the benefits of face-to-face collaboration and a desire for a more traditional office environment.

The 2024 report findings suggest there has been a significant increase to 79 per cent of respondents using flexible office space compared to last year’s report. A large part of this increase may be attributed to companies shifting from longer-term leasehold agreements to more flexible contracts as a result of the pandemic. Full-time remote respondents who use coworking spaces for drop-in days are likely to influence this increase.

In addition, the number of companies adopting hybrid working models has reduced by one-third, with many transitioning to full-time office-based roles.

Respondents now prefer an average of three days in the office per week, marking a significant 30 per cent shift from last year. Most respondents believe returning to a five-day workweek is a good idea, driven by challenges in team productivity (35 per cent) and communication (33 per cent) when working from home.

Tech setup ranked third in importance for professionals, following in-person meetings and colleague interactions, both formal and informal. The report’s findings claim there has been a notable shift in the preference for the number of in-office days among professionals, who now favour a three-day workweek. Contrary to previous trends, Monday to Wednesday are the most popular days, indicating a growing preference for starting the week on the right foot. A notion predominantly spearheaded by Sales, Marketing and Operational roles.

With Monday’s resurgence in popularity (57 per cent of correspondents opted for Monday in comparison to 29 per cent choosing Friday), it reflects a trend towards balancing remote work with structured office time, allowing individuals to optimise their work-life balance while maintaining productivity.


A new role for AI

The report also claims to shed light on growing concerns surrounding AI’s impact on the job market, covering a wide range of topics, issues, and preferences. Nationally, 17 per cent of respondents reported AI replacing roles within their organisations, with this figure increasing to over 26 per cent in London. The data also indicates that this phenomenon predominantly affects larger companies with 250 or more employees. This underscores the need for businesses to navigate the delicate balance between embracing technological innovation and addressing workforce apprehensions about job security. As companies adapt to changing workplace dynamics, investing in reskilling initiatives and fostering a culture of continuous learning to prepare employees for the future of work becomes increasingly vital.

Jonathan Bevan, CEO of Techspace, emphasised the changing perception: “Much of the narrative over the last few years has concerned what employees think is best for them. Our 2023 report showed a very clear difference between the days employees chose to be in the office and the number of days they felt necessary for their team or company to work at its best.

So, it’s interesting to witness employees choosing more in-person work this year and, in turn, effectively closing that gap. The report suggests this down to the need to collaborate, the social side of being with work colleagues and also an increasing recognition that new ideas come best through in person interaction.”

Jonathan Bevan concluded: “The data clearly indicates AI is already having a significant impact on jobs, both in terms of jobs being lost and new jobs created. As the tech industry continues to innovate and evolve, it’s crucial that companies communicate with their teams openly as they adapt while simultaneously educating and upskilling the workforce to ensure employees develop skills that allow them to work alongside AI.”