According to research by Emburse, 68 percent of British office workers surveyed said they would be likely to consider working from the office full-time again if transport costs to the office were fully covered.

Also, close to 6 in 10 (59%) office workers would welcome a four-day week, ranking it the top incentive that would tempt them back to the office.

It was also found that wednesday tops the list as most popular day to work from the office, if given the choice (66%). The least popular day workers are willing to work in the office was found to be Friday (12%)

However, more than a quarter (27%) wouldn’t consider coming back into the office full time, even if costs were covered. This is still a high percentage of UK employees preferring to work from home.

Nonetheless, there’s a distinct divide between all age groups; with 35-44 age bracket most tempted by a fully paid commute to the office 72 percent and the least being respondents aged 55+ (67%).


The top incentives that would lure workers back to the office full time:

  1. Four-day week (same number of work hours over four days, with a three-day weekend): 59 percent
  2. Fully-paid commute: 52 percent
  3. More paid holidays: 51 percent
  4. Employer-paid lunch in the office: 30 percent
    • Younger workers (under 35s) are far more tempted by free lunch (48%) than the 55+ bracket (17%)
  5. Receive reimbursement for lunch expenses: 24 percent
    • Under 35s are five times more likely (40%) than those ages 55+ (10%) to be swayed by the opportunity to expense their lunch
  6. Paid childcare on work days: 14 percent
    • Paid childcare speaks to the 35-44 age group unsurprisingly, with (34%) saying this would make them consider returning to the workplace full time, significantly more than other age groups (23% for under 35s and 8% for 45-54s)


What does the future of work look like?

“The impacts of COVID and the Great Resignation mean that companies need to be more employee-centric in their approach, and humanising the workplace has never been more important. Part of this means ensuring team members get the best possible work environment.  Whilst working remotely is certainly convenient for employees, there are clear benefits of having in-person interactions, as well as the cultural importance of bringing teams together. Data clearly shows that they are more productive than audio or video meetings, so there needs to be a balance between convenience and productivity. A relatively small investment from employers could have a significant impact in driving more in-office collaboration,” says GM and SVP EMEA at Emburse, Kenny Eon. 

As employers continue to navigate new expectations around working conditions, the data reveals some interesting perspectives around career prospects for remote workers, and highlights some of the top incentives that could tempt workers back to the workplace full-time.

“Given the sharp increase in the cost of living, businesses should consider how they can support staff by reducing the financial burden of attending the office in-person. Reimbursing travel and lunches can certainly help do this. It also doesn’t have to mean endless time on paperwork, as expense apps can make the process easy for both the employee and the finance team,” adds Mr Eon.





Amelia Brand is the Editor for HRreview, and host of the HR in Review podcast series. With a Master’s degree in Legal and Political Theory, her particular interests within HR include employment law, DE&I, and wellbeing within the workplace. Prior to working with HRreview, Amelia was Sub-Editor of a magazine, and Editor of the Environmental Justice Project at University College London, writing and overseeing articles into UCL’s weekly newsletter. Her previous academic work has focused on philosophy, politics and law, with a special focus on how artificial intelligence will feature in the future.