A new survey reveals the importance of providing flexibility post-pandemic – with almost half of UK employees stating they would quit their job without this. 

New research by EY shows that just under half of staff (47 per cent) in the UK workforce would quit their job if their employer failed to provide work flexibility post-pandemic.

The vast majority – four in five workers – said they desire flexibility in both where and when they worked.

When asked to choose between the two, almost two-fifths (39 per cent) would prefer flexibility in when they work.

However, a similar number (43 per cent) want flexibility in where they work – with the average survey respondent wanting to work two or three days remotely once the pandemic has ended.

Despite this, around one fifth (19 per cent) still would prefer to work full-time in an office after the pandemic.

The prospect of increasingly widespread flexible working is also leading to more demand for technology, both on-site and in the home office.

Two-thirds (64 per cent) of respondents said they want better technology in the office (e.g. faster internet and videoconferencing) whilst almost half (43 per cent) say they want companies to upgrade at-home hardware (e.g. extra monitors and headsets).

The survey further showed that most people (79 per cent) are satisfied with their job and the majority (88 per cent) say they are planning to stay in their job for the following year.

However, of those most likely to move jobs, managers and leaders, those with technology or finance roles, and caregivers topped the list.

Conversely, baby boomers, individuals with 10+ years of tenure, and those in government or education roles were found to be most likely to stay in their current roles.

David Storey, EY EMEIA Workforce Advisory Leader, says:

The experience of many organisations during the COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated that there is both the desire and the ability to increase flexibility in how, where, and when work takes place.

Our survey data shows that a flexible work regime that meets the needs of the business and its people will support attraction and retention efforts and should be front and centre of future talent strategies.

Seema Farazi, EY People Advisory Services Partner, added:

Organisational culture has historically been built based on shared in-person experiences and it is fascinating to see that the new ways of working have improved such culture in the eyes of many employees.

As we look towards the longer-term as organisations continue to transform their operations, employers will need to consistently re-assess conceptions of productivity and the impact on their cultures, ensuring their approach is optimised for the in-person, hybrid and digital work experience.


*The 2021 EY Work Reimagined Employee Survey was conducted in March 2021 and received 16,264 responses from 16 countries across 23 industries. Millennials represented more than half of all respondents.