Is remote working the future?
Last year, the majority of us saw a change in workplace location when we were hit by Covid and told to work from home where possible. For many of us, this was a massive change to what we were used to, and demanded us to adjust to a new way of working. But what does the future look like when it comes to working from home?
How many of us are working from home?
In April 2020, nearly half (46.6%) of people in employment in the UK did some of their work from home, with the vast majority (86%) of these homeworkers stating that this was because of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Vox EU carried out a survey in January and February 2021, asking 5,000 working adults in the UK about their working location. The survey suggests that about half of the UK labour force are currently working from home. They also asked the same participants, “After COVID, in 2022 and later, how often would you like to have paid workdays at home?” The results showed that 40% of workers said 2-3 days per week, 21% said rarely or never, and 19% said 5+ days per week. This survey suggests that the majority of those in employment in the UK would like some flexibility when it comes to working from home in the future.
Is working from home good for business?
We asked a couple of local businesses to let us know how they were dealing with the government’s request for people to work from home where possible, and what they will do in the future.
Sue Rustone, Head of HR at Courtiers said, “While we're aware of technological evolution and new opportunities, it makes sense for us to look objectively at the remote working boom and in the process, appreciate the proven benefits of physical collaboration and how tech can enhance it”.
While Jon Darby, Managing Director of Touchstone said, "We are now a team of 10 permanent staff and growing, will we ever get an office again? Never say never, but currently having a remote team is working very well with both the company and the staff ‘winning’. We are not restricted at all by location for recruitment, our team is based across the UK from Tintern to Derby, and Bristol to Fulham – with a core in Oxfordshire”.
Is working from home good for employees?
Some people love it, some people hate it, and some people would like something in the middle. We hope that more employers will encourage a healthy balance between office and remote based work where possible in the future. Some people can feel a lot more focussed in the office, and it is important to encourage and support employees who feel this way.
It would be a huge shame for all physical interaction with colleagues to be lost, especially as the office helps with things like coaching and mentoring, induction periods, and boosting morale. A mix between the two would allow for the flexibility that employees require to experience a good work-life balance, but also allow them to feel part of a team and benefit from everything that comes with that. You can read more about how to stay motivated when working from home and how to look after your mental health when working from home in previous blog posts.
The importance of ‘working from home policies’
When making a working from home policy, there are many things that you need to consider in order to keep your employees happy and to make things fair. One of the biggest things to consider is how employers and employees can communicate regularly to discuss important information such as what type of work can and cannot be carried out at home, and which employers may want to work from home and which may want to stay in the office. Continuous communication regarding concerns and how to resolve them is also key to employee happiness in a work-from-home set up.