There is a clear preference for a hybrid of working partially at home and from the office

Almost half would consider quitting their job if forced back to the office full time

The great return to the office is on the horizon and getting closer, with all social restrictions set to end on 21st June. However, while a reunion with colleagues might be welcome, a full time return to the physical workplace is enough to actually put people off their jobs. According to new research* by flatsharing site SpareRoom, one in two (46%) 18-40 year olds will consider quitting their job if their employer doesn’t allow remote working post-pandemic.

Where a swanky office with a lively work social scene was once a major pull for young people and saw them move in their droves to big cities like London, the research from SpareRoom with over 2,000 18-40 year olds reveals the opposite to now be true for many. 

In fact, a clear majority (60%) have changed the job attributes they now find important and almost two thirds (63%) have a new attitude towards work. Of those that are employed and have had the option to ‘WFH’ (81%), there is a clear preference going forward for a continuation of home working or for a hybrid of working partially at home and from the office (72% combined). This compares to 28% that prefer working exclusively from the office.

Notwithstanding the possible resignation-inducing prospect of five days a week in the office, the most undesirable feature of a job now happens to be the office party. As part of the research, SpareRoom asked young people to rank features of a job based on how important they are. The loser was a job with regular social events, suggesting that many are not yet ready to reembrace the old socially intimate culture of afterwork drinks and the annual Christmas knees-up.

On the other hand, the features of a job that 18-40 year olds now covet more than anything else are pay, a good work-life balance and the knowledge that their work has a purpose. 


Most important features of a job

Least important features of a job

1. Pay and compensation

1. Regular social events and office parties

2. Good work-life balance

2. Regular appraisals/reviews and opportunity to grow

3. A job that has a sense of purpose

3. Additional benefits e.g. gym, healthcare

4. Job security

4. Being able to pursue a passion / ‘side hustle’ outside of work

5. Feeling safe at work

5. Reduced or flexible working hours


Matt Hutchinson, SpareRoom Director comments: “Work is one of the cornerstones of our lives and COVID has forced people to question their relationship with their job. That means, for many, the most desirable job is now one that offers security, a good work-life balance and of course the ability to work from home - even if not all of the time. Spending five days a week in the office, however, is particularly unattractive - to the extent that half would consider moving jobs if faced with this situation.

Work is also one of the biggest drivers in the rental market. Pre-pandemic people moved for work or study. Now people are starting to think about what their lives will look like in future and the prospect of remote working opens up all sorts of possibilities. We’ve already seen a downward shift in demand for rooms in London, while other regions of the UK are seeing a rise.”** 

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