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UK Return To Office Fears Infographic

More than one in ten UK office workers are dreading having to chat to colleagues as many return to the workplace post-lockdown.

A study of 1,500 Brits carried out in May by Cartridge People found that 12% were dreading having to chat to co-workers the most when they’re back in the office. This didn’t top the list of things people were least looking forward to. The results revealed that 40% were dreading the commute although this percentage rose to 50% for respondents based in London.

One of the benefits about having to work remotely during lockdown is that it's opened up the possibility of spending longer in bed with not needing to get up and travel to the office. Clearly this is something that many UK workers aren't looking forward to losing out on as 28% of people in our survey said they were dreading having to get up earlier.

It would seem that the need to make sure we're in appropriate workwear when we return to the office is a worry for the UK office-based workforce; 17% of people said “having to dress appropriately” was something they were now dreading.

The study also found that in Wales, more than one in five were dreading catching up with colleagues in person. This is compared to 12% in England, 11% in Scotland and 3% in Northern Ireland.

Commenting on the findings, Cartridge People Managing Director, John Flanagan, said: "It's understandable that so many office workers have got used to not having to travel in to work and there are clearly many things people are concerned about when it comes to returning post-pandemic.

“As employers, it's important to try and understand what can be done to help those who are worried, for instance, looking at a hybrid of remote-working and office-based to try and introduce a gradual return to the office. When it comes to people having become used to a bit more sleep than before the pandemic, a gradual return would be helpful to avoid staff becoming fatigued by an immediate return to commuting on less sleep."

Cartridge People's survey of 1,500 people took place during May 2021. If you'd like to know more about these results or would like any further comments, please email

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