UK businesses have been slow to move back to the office says new poll

A poll conducted by online contact centre and customer service magazine Call Centre Helper and home and hybrid working specialist Sensée, reveals that UK businesses have been slow to move back to the office post lockdown. It also indicates that a single clear model for optimising hybrid (home/office) working has yet to emerge. 213 business professionals responded to the October 2021 online poll.

43 percent of people responding to the poll said that between 0 and 25 percent of their employees had returned to the office since lockdown ended – with just 20 percent of respondents stating that between 76 and 100 percent of employees had returned.

“According to our poll results, the return to the office seems to be a lot slower than many commentators predicted” said Mark Walton, CEO, Sensée. “What isn’t clear though is why? Could it be because of concerns over employee welfare? Operational difficulties relating to maintaining social distancing? Employees’ desires to continue to work-from-home? Or indeed a combination of all these, plus other factors.”

The poll suggests that there is no single winning template for organisations when it comes to establishing a best-in-class hybrid operation. When asked: “How does your business currently operate hybrid working?” the most popular answer was “Flexibly between home & office (with employees deciding where they work on any day)”. This was selected by 33 percent of people. The second most popular answer was “Set days at home and set days in the office”, selected by 21 percent of respondents. But no hybrid model seems to be the overwhelming winner at this time.

The third poll question asked: “What is the biggest issue you’ve faced since moving to hybrid ‘home/office’ working’ post lockdown?” 41 percent of people indicated issues relating to “management/comms/training” while 34 percent pointed to “pastoral care (mental health concerns, isolation worries etc.)”.

And finally, when asked: “What is the biggest benefit you expect to realise from hybrid ‘home/office’ working?” 36 percent of respondents said “Better employee engagement/productivity” while 29 percent said “Reduced attrition/absenteeism”.

“The picture of hybrid (home /office) working painted by the poll is very mixed” continues Mark Walton. “A move back to the office has started, albeit slower than many people predicted. The hybrid models used by organisations are many and varied. And the most common hybrid challenges to date relate to management/comms/training and pastoral care. Yet the poll shows that many organisations see hybrid working as a way to improve employee engagement/productivity and reduce attrition & absenteeism. While operational cost is clearly a concern, ‘people’ issues – from employee engagement to recruitment, attrition, absenteeism and mental health & well being – appear to dominate organisational thinking when it comes to implementing hybrid strategies.”

View the poll results infographic

Sensée launches ‘The Sensée Forest’ with aim of achieving carbon neutrality

Home and hybrid working specialist Sensée has announced a three-year partnership with Treedom, a global web platform for planting trees and forests worldwide.

The partnership is part of a broader Sensée programme to reduce the company’s carbon footprint and become the first 100% work-from-home business to achieve certification for carbon neutrality. Sensée, established 17 years ago and with no physical contact centres, already has an estimated 90% lower carbon footprint than a typical office-based contact centre.

The Sensée Forest will contain nearly 3000 trees, each gifted to permanent Sensée employees over the next three years – with each person able to select their own tree species, in the territory of their choice, using the Treedom web platform. Initially, these choices will include Tephrosia, Grevillea, Coffee and Cacao trees with the territories available including Madagascar, Kenya, Tanzania and Ecuador. Each tree will have an online page and be geolocated and photographed, with regular updates posted in an online Tree Diary for tree owners to follow the progress of the project.

The Treedom tree planting scheme is the latest in a line of initiatives designed to reduce Sensée’s overall carbon footprint and encourage energy efficiency, recycling and other eco-friendly activities amongst its homeworker population.

“Over the last 18 months, many workers have re-evaluated their relationship with the workplace and come to appreciate the many benefits of homeworking” said Andy Rosser, Transformation and Innovation Director at Sensée. “Eliminating the time and cost associated with the daily commute is one of the top benefits that work-from-home brings…. plus it brings a major benefit for the environment too in terms of reducing greenhouse gas emissions.”

“Sensée is committed to environmental and social sustainability and this latest initiative, The Sensée Forest, is our way of saying a big thank you to our colleagues within the Sensée Family, and doing something good for the planet together. We are proud to support an initiative that’s delivering genuine environmental and social benefits, and enables our colleagues to become part of that journey.”

How is hybrid working for you? Take our poll

Interested in how other contact centres are adapting to hybrid (home/office) working – and comparing experiences?  Our 2 minute poll contains 4 simple questions:

  • What % of your employees have returned to the office since lockdown ended?
  • How does your business currently operate hybrid working?
  • What is the biggest issue you’ve faced since moving to hybrid working?
  • What is the biggest benefit you expect to realise from hybrid working?

Please click on this link, complete the 4 questions, leave us a contact email, and we will send you the aggregated poll results next week.

The survey is entirely anonymous and over 200 organisations have already completed it.

Ageas and Sensée named Outsourced Contact Centre of the Year at 2021 Northern Awards

Massive congratulations to the Ageas-Sensée team who were named Contact Centre of the Year (Outsourced) at Thursday night’s Northern Contact Centre Awards.

The Northern Awards winners were announced at a gala awards dinner at The Midland Hotel in Manchester, and organised/operated by Call North West.

Other winners included Atos, BT, Co-op, EE, IAG Loyalty, interactive investor, Reassured, Regenda Homes, Riverside Housing, RSA Motability and St John Ambulance.

(Online Workshop) Building Team Culture in a Hybrid Workspace

Date: Wednesday, October 20th, 2021
Time: 12.00 to 13.00pm

Chair: Jane Thomas, South West Contact Centre Forum and Call North West

In this online workshop, we’ll discuss how to build team culture in work-from-home (WFH) and hybrid environments. We’ll be discussing:

  • How to create a sense of togetherness within hybrid teams
  • The role of the Team Leader in creating team cohesion and spirit
  • Suggestions and tips on how to create social events to bring colleagues together (even when they live hundreds of miles apart)
  • How organisations can replicate the communications (advisor to manager, advisor to advisor, HR support etc.) that people have come to expect in the office, when they are working from home
  • How companies go about creating comms platforms that support teams on the same work mission (regardless of where they work)
  • How organisations can build a cohesive health and well being programme in a hybrid world.

Who should attend

This online workshop is targeted at Senior Directors and Managers who are currently reflecting and strategising on the current and future challenges for quality service delivery, as well as Team Leaders involved in the day-to-day management of home and hybrid working teams.

Jane Thomas will be joined by Sensée experts – Simon Hunter (CCO); Sarah Cocks (Head of Learning & Development); and Sarah Benkalai (Team Leader).

To register for the event, please go to