7 in 10 UK tech workers consider hybrid working a key factor

Techspace has released The Scaleup Culture Report, a national report diving into the current state of workplace culture across the UK tech industry. Based on a comprehensive YouGov survey of 1,000 tech workers, the report sheds light on how companies are adapting to new working models and shares insights and learnings to help businesses.

Notably, the report highlights the importance of work-life balance, social interaction, and career growth opportunities in retaining top talent. Today (not including pay, the role and the location) a flexible working policy is considered a high priority by 78% of tech employees and a hybrid working policy by 67% of tech employees. Other important factors include flexible working policies and opportunities for career development. These statistics have exposed a new factor that will determine startups' competitiveness in the job market. 

Jonathan Bevan, CEO of Techspace, said: “In just three short years, the world of work has undergone remarkable change. Driven by the pandemic and the war for talent there has been a big shift towards flexible work. Workplace discussions have gone from being slow-moving and mundane to being a hot topic of conversation. Every company needs to continually re-evaluate how they work to keep pace.”

Bevan continued: “One of the most interesting learnings is the continued tension between what individuals believe is best for them, and what managers and leaders believe is best for their company. We may see further shifts in work behaviour as the skills shortage abates.”

The New Normal

75% of tech workers surveyed confirm their working week is some form of hybrid. Either Hybrid fixed or Hybrid flex. The remaining 25% is evenly distributed between full-time in the office or fully remote. But in London this number shrinks further. 

Londoners are most likely to work for a company with a hybrid work arrangement, as opposed to fully remote or full-time in the office. They also have the longest average commute, spending approximately 32% more time travelling when compared to other regions. 

28% of tech businesses across the UK now use a flexible workspace.

All Days are Not Equal

Hybrid workers are more likely to follow TWiTs (Tuesdays, Wednesday, including Thursdays) and head to the office in the middle of the week. Mid-week is twice as popular as Monday or Friday. According to recent reports from the BBC and Transport for London, Friday has become the quietest day. 

The survey also found that the larger the tech company, the less often they were in the office. 

Smart company card provider and Techspace member, Pleo, which was founded in Denmark, is now an 820-strong team spread across 30 countries. The FinTech unicorn has embraced a more sustainable remote-first culture. 

Jessie Danyi, Belonging and Impact Lead at Pleo, commented: “Wherever possible, we like to put flexibility into our employees' hands and let them make a decision on what works for them when it comes to a work setup. As a result of this, around a third of the company is fully remote, with others located in our eight offices in Europe and Canada.”

Impact of the Pandemic

When asked their views on what the impact has been from the last three years, 65% of respondents said they believed there had been a positive impact on their personal wellbeing, productivity, and quality of work. However, the past three years were shown to have had a negative impact on communication, team cohesiveness and rapport with colleagues. 

Good for “me” isn’t always best for “we”

The report shows a disconnect between what employees want and what managers need. Employees think they are more productive when WFH, producing better quality of work and meeting deadlines - yet managers think they are less productive. There's a widespread recognition that increased WFH negatively impacts communication and team cohesion. At the same time, managers want more face-to-face time with employees but struggle to attract them in. 

Bevan added: “At Techspace, we have conducted a comprehensive analysis of our utilisation data and found that our busiest days are now just as busy as they have always been, hovering just below 70% across all our spaces. While our average utilisation levels have dropped by 30%, we observed a shift in how spaces are being used.  Companies now opt for smaller spaces that can be used by any group that needs to meet on a given day. At Techspace, we are committed to providing highly adaptable spaces and have introduced support to design each space around the unique needs and preferences of our member businesses.”

What People Want

40% of respondents want just one to two days in the office. 60% see the value of working from an office every week, and engineers want to work from home more than those in non-engineering roles. 

80% of those in leadership roles surveyed within the report, excluding those who don’t have an office, choose to be in the office two to four days per week. Techspace believe this is due to a greater need for face-to-face interaction with other team members, alongside a greater need to optimise for company-wide output, rather than focusing on their own individual output.

73% of employees who work within the tech sector find it valuable to engage with peers and other leaders from like-minded tech companies.

Among the reasons to head to the office, the biggest driver was to be with colleagues and have social interaction, followed by meetings and collaborating with colleagues in-person. When broken down by age, these two main reasons do not change. 

These were followed by a need for a change in environment, refreshments and snacks, and heating and air-conditioning. Under 35s are most likely to be tempted into the office by dogs. 

Included in the full report by Techspace are interviews with Jessie Danyi, Belonging and Impact Lead at Pleo, Charles Armitage, Co-founder and CEO at Florence, Beth Waker, Marketing and Operations Coordinator for Mr Yum, George Sullivan, CEO and Founder of The Sole Supplier, Stefaan Arryn, VP of People at Silverfin, and experts from across the Techspace team. 

Techspace will soon have seven locations with five in London and two in Berlin. Opening its new location in London on Worship Street in June.

With a focus on community and collaboration, Techspace provides an environment where tech entrepreneurs and businesses can thrive. Alongside their own dedicated offices, members have access to meeting rooms, event spaces, kitchens, cafés, showers and more. Techspace also provides companies with events programming, the best connectivity services, and Elevate, a leadership development programme to upskill ambitious managers.