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Return to the office and 5-day working week: How UK companies risk alienating employees

London, 27/09/2022 – Spendesk — the 7-in-1 spend management solution for small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) — has released the results of a YouGov survey looking at how finance professionals in the UK view remote work, the four-day week, and salary increases.

Remote work satisfaction is high but there are concerns over office ‘favouritism’

YouGov’s survey found there is broad satisfaction with remote work opportunities among finance professionals, with almost two-thirds (63%) of respondents satisfied with the arrangements their companies provide. A third (32%) of those surveyed would consider leaving their job if they were forced back into the office full time, rising to 47% in the 35–44 age bracket.

Satisfaction with remote working conditions varies across the UK: the North West, West Midlands, and Wales scored lowest (54%, 52%, and 50% respectively), while London, the East Midlands and Yorkshire faired the best (69%, 70%, and 70%). However, finance workers in London feel the most pressure from employers to attend the office; experienced by 33% of respondents in the capital compared to the national average of 19%.

Anxiety over the more favourable treatment of in-office workers is evenly split overall, with 40% worried and 39% not; although the less job-secure 18 to 24-year-old bracket had the most concern (65%). Around half (46%) don’t miss in-person interaction when working remotely, although a quarter do, and 10% reported feelings of isolation. Only 5% of respondents said their company had allocated a dedicated budget for flexible working.

Strong desire for inflation-matched salaries and a four-day working week

When it comes to pay, 77% of respondents don’t think remote workers should be paid less, while 80% think overall salaries should be increased because of the rising cost of living and inflation — though only 21% said their companies have plans to do so.

More than three-quarters (77%) of finance workers in the UK would like a four-day working week. Their employers, however, are not so enthusiastic: only 5% of respondents said the company they work for is planning to introduce the policy.

Other key findings in the study include:

A quarter (24%) of respondents say they have had communication issues because of remote working; this rises to a third (34%) in London.

43% of respondents said they were willing to be more flexible during an economic crisis, but would still expect some aspect of remote working, while 13% said remote working was too important to them to change their expectations.

Commenting on the survey, Paddy O'Neill, Country Manager, UK & Ireland, at Spendesk said: “Remote and hybrid working practices are here to stay, and it’s obvious from the survey findings that the UK’s finance workers place great importance on such arrangements. It’s also clear that there is still room for improvement when it comes to employers, with very few respondents knowing if their companies have a budget in place for flexible working, or a policy on the four-day week.

“Looking forward, it will be interesting to see how employers respond to ensure they retain workers, particularly with a recession looming, and surging inflation rates.”


This survey was carried out between 4th-11th July, 2022, using an online interview, and data collected and analysed by YouGov France. Total sample size was 1050 respondents working in finance departments in big cities/urban areas in the UK, France and Germany.

About Spendesk

Spendesk is designed to save time and money across the entire spending process with 100% visibility and built-in automation. Ultimately, businesses that use Spendesk empower finance teams to gain valuable time to invest in strategic topics to grow the business. Founded in 2016, Spendesk is now trusted by thousands of businesses from start-ups to established brands, such as Algolia, Soundcloud, Curve, Doctolib, Gousto, Raisin, Sezane, Wefox. Spendesk-backed CFO Connect is the fastest-growing global community of finance leaders with more than 8,500 members.

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