Young employees are eager to return to the office

Working from home has had a disproportionately negative impact on young employees in the UK, according to new research by Glassdoor.

Over half (55%) of employees aged 18 to 24 are keen to return to the office, more than double the average of 26% for employees overall.

COVID-19’s impact on young employees:

Coronavirus pandemic widens graduate inequalities

COVID impacts ambition of disadvantaged young people

COVID causing career lockdown for young people

Working from home has had fewer benefits for this age group than others.

Three quarters (75%) of those aged 18 to 24 said they felt burned out from working from home during the pandemic, compared to 39% of those aged 45 to 54 and 28% of those aged 55 to 64.

Younger employees also feel that working from home on an ongoing basis would have a negative impact on their career prospects, as 65% feel it would impact their training and development.

Joe Wiggins, director at Glassdoor, said employers need to ensure their younger employees aren’t being left to fend for themselves.

He told HR magazine: "Younger employees appear to have been more susceptible to burnout and are also more concerned that working from home on an ongoing basis would have a negative impact on their promotion and career development prospects.

“HR teams therefore should bear in mind that younger employees are far more keen than older colleagues to get back in the office sooner rather than later.”

Wiggins said HR teams should also note that some young employees may be feeling the need for additional support around connecting to company culture, mentoring from colleagues, career coaching and skills development.

He said: “Our research suggests that younger employees are more of a flight risk, so attrition is a potential issue that is brewing.

“It seems we may have a two-speed return to work based on how far people are into their careers.”

The age group will be flocking back to the office to get their careers and social lives back on track, said Wiggins.

He added: “However, older workers with more experience are less keen to rush back, being more concerned about the commute and feeling less impacted by burnout.”