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Age-divide revealed as young bosses eager to return to work

Small business owners aged under 35 are more likely to return to the workplace compared to their older counterparts.


This week Prime Minister (PM) Boris Johnson announced that the work from home order will be scrapped, in line with the easing of further restrictions on 19 July.


With this in mind, questions have been raised over whether or not businesses will ask staff to return to the workplace or whether they will continue with remote working, or a mixture of the two.


However, new data from Hitachi Capital Business Finance has revealed that there will be an age-divide between business owners.


It stated that older small business owners will continue with hybrid and home working, compared to younger small business owners who are eager to return to a physical workplace setting.


In a survey of 1,464 small business owners and decision makers, Hitachi discovered that bosses aged over 45 were almost twice as likely to be considering remote working by the end of this year as those aged under 35 (52% vs 29%).


Around a quarter of this age group planned hybrid working with 25% working completely remotely, which indicates that this generation has adjusted well to the new way of working.


Bosses aged under 35 were significantly more likely to plan a return to the office or on-site work environment. In fact, almost half of respondents intended to ask employees to return to the office, which is higher than the proportion considering hybrid working (15%) or working entirely from home/remotely (16%).


Commenting on the findings, Joanna Morris, head of insight at Hitachi Capital Business Finance, claimed that due to the enforced restrictions throughout the pandemic, younger small business owners will likely be eager to “exercise choice in how they want to work going forward”.


The study also highlighted differences in priorities when respondents where asked what was important about their working environment over the next 12 months.


For bosses over 45, family time was more important as two in five stated they wanted to ensure a good work/life balance. 39% also shared that they prioritised having a Covid-secure environment long-term.


In contrast, bosses under 35 focussed more on the benefits of a work environment. For example, top priorities included having a good environment for staff’s mental wellbeing (25%), ensuring a positive dynamic between team members (25%) and the ability to deliver a better service (24%).


“The research shows there is no single viewpoint. Some small businesses want to return to the traditional workplace – and, whilst the proportion that do this is set to rise, less than half of small business will return to the office,” Morris added.


“Hybrid and home working is here to stay which means there will be far greater diversity than ever before in how small businesses choose to work. There is no average or norm anymore – small businesses will work from a range of environments, with each having different perceived benefits.”

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