Lockdown creates radical shift in UK’s mindset on environmental issues

Almost two-thirds of workers have evaluated their environmental impact during the coronavirus pandemic, and the majority are seeking permanent changes to their working week once lockdown restrictions ease, according to a new survey.

The new research from Hitachi Capital UK has established the enforced lockdown for many Brits has altered their outlook for the long term future. A staggering 40% of workers are now considering greener commuting alternatives post-lockdown, with over a quarter (26%) now more likely to buy an electric car than they were before the pandemic.

The study illustrated a wider evaluation of day to day working life during lockdown also found that 41% cite the time and cost savings of ditching the daily commute as the main reason home working is a more attractive proposition. The flexibility of working from home is identified as the most significant benefit by 13% of respondents.

Analysing the sector by sector landscape, those working in marketing (37%) are most likely to now consider buying an electric car for their commute as a result of the lockdown.

However, working from home comes with its own set of challenges, with 38% stating they will appreciate their work colleagues more in the office when the lockdown ends.

More than one in four admit finding it hard to stay motivated working from the confines of their own home. Whilst there is an overwhelming clamour for greater home working after the lockdown restrictions end, almost one in five also miss face to face time with colleagues, despite regular video calls.

Meanwhile, the greatest clamour for home working beyond the lockdown comes from recruitment and HR professionals, followed by IT workers and legal professionals.

In contrast, those working in business & consulting, marketing and education are most eager to return to their regular place of work alongside their colleagues when the restrictions end.

Northern England has the highest proportion of workers stating they will appreciate their work colleagues more in the office when the lockdown restrictions are eased, followed by workers in Scotland and the Midlands.

Robert Gordon, CEO of Hitachi Capital UK, said:  “Our research shows that people are not only re-evaluating how they work, but also the impact they have on the environment and what long term changes they are prepared to make.

“The lockdown has created a positive and fundamental shift in attitude when it comes to the environment, with the majority of people placing more importance on reducing their carbon footprint than ever before.  Over a quarter of commuters would now actively switch to an electric vehicle, a significant shift pre the lockdown.  Even more want more agile working, suggesting a reduction in commuting and travel for work, which again will impact on the environmental economy.

“This changing landscape also provides employers with an opportunity to re-evaluate their business models. Remote working has forced everyone to rethink their working practises and opens up new opportunities for attracting and retaining the best talent from a wider pool.  It could also lead to operational savings, using agile working to offset the cost of expanding office premises.”