Are Millennials Sick of Working From Home Yet?

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One of the major consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic has been a seismic shift towards working from home.

Working from home not only enabled businesses to continue operating throughout the pandemic, it also proved popular.

Workers were able to spend less time and money commuting, and more time with their families.

However, now 92% of the UK population are vaccinated against COVID-19 and lockdowns are over, there's a debate about whether current levels of remote working should persist.

The debate

Working from home can improve employee wellbeing, especially for staff with long, expensive commutes or young children.

However, some senior leaders and newspaper commentators argue that remote working cuts employees off from their colleagues and, especially in the case of younger workers, deprives them of the valuable experiences that can be gained working in an office environment.

Employers are mindful that remote working has become more popular. A YouGov study highlighted how the pandemic has increased the desire among employees to work from home. Prior to the pandemic, 31 per cent of men wanted to work from home some of the time while 13 per cent wanted to work from home full time. Post-COVID though, 41 per cent wanted to work from home some of the time and 23 per cent wanted to do so full time.

The increase was even more significant among women. Pre-COVID, 25 per cent of women respondents said they wanted to work from home at least some of the time, while 12 per cent wanted to work from home all the time. Afterwards, these figures rose to 50 per cent and 23 per cent, respectively.

However, not everyone has accepted that working from home will, or should, now lockdowns have ended. A number of high-profile business leaders and politicians have argued that the practice isn't working for organisations or their customers, and won't be in employees' best interests in the long-term. One of the most prominent figures to have spoken out against the work from home culture is JP Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon. JP Morgan was one of several Wall Street banks to insist in 2021 that workers return to offices, along with the likes of Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley. Dimon went further than some of his peers, however, by actively voicing his opposition to working from home.

According to Dimon, home-working "doesn't work for people who want to hustle, doesn't work for culture, doesn't work for idea generation." He admitted that JP Morgan's decision to recall all staff to the office hadn't been entirely popular – saying "We are getting blowback about coming back internally, but that's life," – but was steadfast in bringing full-time home-working to an end for his staff.

One of Dimon's core claims about working from home was that it "doesn't work for young people", a comment that taps into a wider debate about whether it is beneficial for young people to work remotely and whether younger workers are sick of working from home.

What do young people think?

Dimon's claim that it "doesn't work" for young employees is controversial. However, there's evidence both for and against that - depending on how you define 'young.'

According to YouGov, working from home is most popular among 25-49 year-olds (the age group closest to "millennials"), with 15 per cent of that age group saying their preference post-pandemic would be to work from home full time, while 35 per cent said they wanted to do so at least some of the time. Millennials are embracing working from home more than other generations.

However, Dimon may have a point when it comes to younger staff. Employees polled by YouGov in the 18-24 age bracket (widely known as "Gen Z") were significantly less positive about working from home, with 11 per cent wanting to work from home permanently after the pandemic and just 20 per cent wanting to do so even some of the time.

Given the mixed popularity of working from home, employers may be tempted to do as JP Morgan did and tell workers they need to get back in the office. However, that may be trickier than it appears.

The great resignation

The uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic and extended periods of working from home have given many employees a chance to reassess their career choices and consider their work-life balance. In many cases, people have decided that they want to change their jobs, locations or professions.

This has led to what is being called the "great resignation", as record numbers of people leave their jobs in order to seek greener pastures elsewhere. This is happening at a time when global economies are beginning to recover as COVID restrictions are lifted. With many employers now hiring and a candidate pool that is increasingly selective about what they want from a job, businesses are struggling to fill vacancies.

According to recent Office for National Statistics (ONS) figures, there were a record 1.298 million job vacancies in the UK between November 2021 and January 2022. During that quarter, job vacancies grew by 9.6 per cent.

Record numbers of vacancies, combined with factors motivating the great resignation, have created a candidates' market and enabled those changing jobs to push for higher starting salaries. According to recruitment firm Robert Walters, workers switching jobs are currently getting an average pay rise of 15 per cent, with some seeing their pay increase by more than 20 per cent when they change jobs.

Robert Walters CFO Alan Bannatyne said: "It's the first time in 20 years that I can remember this high a level of salary inflation." According to Bannatyne, higher salaries are, in turn, fuelling job switches. This is a statement borne out by ONS figures, which show a record 988,000 job shifts from October to December 2021, the majority of which were following resignations, rather than dismissals.

Current conditions in the job market mean that candidates can be more selective over roles and more demanding about salaries and perks. In the wake of COVID lockdowns, a key part of an attractive job offer for many workers will be the option to work from home either permanently or a few days a week.

While some bosses may wish to do away with home working and get people back in the office, businesses that are looking to hire new talent seemingly have little choice but to offer candidates the option to work from home at least part of the time. If they don't, they risk losing talent to competitors who allow it.

How can businesses leverage home-working?

With working from home here to stay – whether business leaders like it or not - employers need to make the most of it. Companies that have enthusiastically embraced remote working have often found it's a great way to cut office costs.

With more employees working remotely, many businesses will be able to downsize their physical offices, enabling them to make savings on rent and associated overheads.

Newspaper publisher Reach, a client of hSo, is one of many businesses with a workforce eager to embrace remote working in the wake of COVID. As a result, the business decided to close its office on Lower Thames Street and reduce its headquarters at Canary Wharf from two floors to one. Under its new working model, Reach will have 15 UK hubs, including the Canary Wharf office, with remote employees being "linked to a hub" and required to spend at least some time in the office.

A spokesperson for Reach said: "We carried out a survey of all colleagues that showed a majority found home working suited their needs.

Moving forward colleagues will either be home based or working mainly from home with around a quarter office-based, working from one of our 15 hubs around the country. This solution provides increased flexibility with the ability to have access to meeting space to recapture face to face collaboration and a social element..."

Cloud shift accelerates

It's not just employees that won't be in the office full time. Computing workloads are also shifting.

As increasing numbers of employees, including IT teams, spend at least some time each week working from home, many firms have explored moving their workloads from the office to the cloud.

Gartner expects Infrastructure-as-a-Service spending to rise 23% this year. It expects similar growth for Platform-as-a-Service (21%) and Software-as-a-Service (14%).

And it's not just data that's heading to the cloud. Telephony is too, with firms replacing ageing on-premise PBXs with cloud-hosted alternatives that are more remote-working friendly – allowing staff at home to make business phone calls via apps on their iPhones, Android devices, PCs or Macs.

When COVID lockdowns temporarily put a stop to in-person meetings, Microsoft Teams saw a staggering growth in its user numbers. Although Teams is best known for its video-conferencing functionality – the system can actually interoperate with phone systems, allowing Teams to be used to make and receive phone calls. In essence, Microsoft is providing a basic cloud-based PBX. Behind the scenes, Microsoft connects to business telecoms providers such as hSo. This allows our customers to keep their numbers, keep their service, but access it via Teams, in addition to having the option to use physical office phones and physical meeting-room phones.

The growth in Microsoft Teams' popularity since the start of the pandemic is illustrative of the shift to a more flexible model of working. Teams went from having fewer than 50 million monthly active users to having over 270 million.

Those working from home often lack digital protection

Employees working in the office are often protected by an enterprise-grade corporate firewall. That's seldom the case when staff are working from home. However, many managed service providers such as ourselves have added remote working options to help businesses keep staff safe from cybersecurity threats when working remotely.

Office 365 is helping remote workers access the data they need

Adoption of Office 365 (now rebranded Microsoft 365) has also accelerated since the start of the pandemic, enabling many staff to access work emails and documents via web browsers and mobile devices while working from home.

This poses a challenge for IT managers, as only service availability is guaranteed. Data availability isn't. For example, Microsoft says that "Point in time restoration of mailbox items is out of scope for the Exchange Online service." The same problem also applies to other Microsoft 365 services such as OneDrive and SharePoint Online. For companies that require a more sophisticated backup/retention solution, hSo offers Cloud Backup via Veeam Cloud Connect.

So, working from home isn't just a personnel issue. There are technical practicalities to consider too.


The debate over how much home-working to allow is far from over. Despite COVID restrictions being lifted, public transport use is significantly down on pre-pandemic levels – suggesting many employees have yet to return to the office full-time.

YouGov survey data shows mixed feelings about such a return, among all age groups. A sizeable minority of workers can't wait to get back to the office. However, a majority of workers now want to work from home at least part of the time, and many view remote working as a basic perk of the job.

This means we are moving into an age where offices are far less central to the working experience. Millennials are the most prominent age demographic embracing this change, so clearly, despite the protestations of some senior bosses and politicians, millennials have not grown sick of working from home.

They probably never will. And that's good news for businesses: it will allow for office space requirements to be trimmed – saving a fortune on rents, business rates and energy bills.

Those huge savings more than cover the costs of making sure remote workers have collaboration tools, secure access to information, proper data backups and protection from cybersecurity threats.

If you'd like to learn more about how hSo can help you make the most of remote working, please call us on 020 7847 4510 or email us at

If you would like to find out more about what's happening with remote working, check out our collection of Remote Working Statistics for 2022.

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