Hybrid working has gone from becoming a ‘nice-to-have’ to essential for the majority of Brits, who are now set on keeping this more flexible approach to their working patterns.

Despite calls from some politicians and business leaders for a return to the ‘old normal’ once restrictions allow, the majority of British workers want remote working to become a permanent fixture of the workplace.

Research by Microsoft, in conjunction with YouGov, discovered that 51% of British workers would consider quitting their jobs if the hybrid working model were taken away. What’s more, this belief appears to be more than an idle threat, with figures from the Office for National Statistics putting resignations and job-to-job moves at their highest level in two decades – a trend thought to be driven by employees seeking out more favourable working arrangements.

Microsoft also discovered that 59% of HR decision-makers said that hybrid working had made a positive difference to the mental wellbeing of their workforce, whilst 38% of those not operating hybrid working said they found it difficult to retain talent.

That said, HR professionals did admit that hybrid working made the onboarding process more difficult for new staff members. Some 36% of respondents said that it was now more difficult to be job-specific when onboarding, whilst 35% worried that new staff members didn’t have access to all the information they needed to hit the ground running.

Despite these concerns, the HR professionals did say that hybrid working still won out – with the benefits far outweighing any concerns. By not allowing workplace flexibility, they said, companies risked employee burnout, a negative impact on productivity, and the potential to lose out to competitors.

Commenting on the findings, Director of Modern Work Business Group at Microsoft UK, Nick Hedderman, said: “The pandemic has proven that organisations can trust their people to be productive wherever they are. They now have an opportunity to reshape work around individual roles, preferences and even personal lives. “This is achievable through tech-enabled hybrid working models, which supports the creation of a rich digital culture to benefit everyone, helping to attract and retain top talent.”