Remote working ‘here to stay’

UK offices will never be quite the same again. With employees across the country working from home during the Covid-19 pandemic, it’s likely that many will not be returning to the office – or at least, not full-time.

In a survey by the BBC, 43 of 50 big employers questioned said that they would embrace a mix of home and office working, with staff encouraged to work from home two to three days a week.

Some companies cited “smart working” and “flexibility” as reasons for introducing hybrid working, with many suggesting that workers would be able to make their own choices about how often they come into the office.

Under the current government guidance, people who can work from home are still advised to do so. That is likely change to in the coming months as the government hopes to end all social distancing restrictions in June.

However, employers might find that workers are reluctant to return.

Research by HR software company Personio found that one in four employees would resign from their current job if they were forced to return to the office.

The survey of 1,000 employees also revealed that, while 41% believe their employer is likely to retain the flexible working arrangements introduced in response to the pandemic, more than a third (37%) feel their company is avoiding implementing hybrid working and is persisting with compulsory attendance.

A separate survey by smart locker provider Velocity Smart Technology found that 83% of UK office workers believe flexible working is here to stay.

“Before the turn of the decade, remote working was something that so-called ‘cool’ or young businesses provided as a perk to attract rising talent,” said Anthony Lamoureux, chief executive of Velocity Smart Technology. “But one global pandemic later and things are very different. Practically overnight, well-established businesses no longer had the luxury of toying with the idea of remote working as something they ‘could’ offer in a far-off future – they either had to adapt to a remote workforce or close shop altogether.

“Business leaders and IT directors now need to understand exactly what the pandemic has taught us about remote working. In a nutshell, remote working is here to stay and for a company to thrive in this new paradigm, it needs to evolve the support provided to remote employees and ensure they are equipped to give their all.”