Many British employers mull smaller offices post-COVID - survey

FILE PHOTO: Outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in London

(Reuters) - Roughly half of UK's employers are planning to reduce office space and stagger return to work as Britain eases restrictions following a three-month COVID-19 lockdown, according to a survey by recruiter Robert Walters <RWA.L>.

Remote working will become more prevalent in a post-COVID world, the survey showed, as companies assess cost savings as well as health risks to staff.

Around 44% of employers are considering cutting down physical office space and 49% are planning to spread out employees' return to work, according to the survey which polled 2,200 companies.

Last week, Britain's financial services minister said some banks would cut office space in London's financial district as they "reset" their operations.

Several companies across the world have extended work from home options for their staff, with U.S. social media giant Facebook <FB.O> saying last month it will permanently embrace remote work even after lockdowns ease.

"It can be daunting for companies who have been going through a difficult period to consider spending money on their physical workspace, technical infrastructure or general operations," said Robert Walters Director Lucy Bisset.

Three quarters of British employers admitted that their senior team have not been equipped to manage teams remotely, and will need new training to adapt, the survey added.

It also found that 87% of employees would like more opportunities to work from home post-return and 21% stated that they would like to work from home permanently.

Homebuyers are already showing in interest in buying bigger houses with better home workspace and gardens, major housebuilder Redrow <RDW.L> noted on Tuesday.


(Reporting by Yadarisa Shabong and Indranil Sarkar in Bengaluru; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty)