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.”

Working During a Pandemic

When there is a pandemic going on, you may want to take extra steps to keep yourself and others safe, while still allowing yourself to continue working. Whether this involves still travelling to your place of work, or working from home, will be down to the discretion of your employer, as well as the needs of the company.

Even with the pandemic, people still need a means of earning money and paying their bills. To make things easier, both companies and individuals can work together to improve the cleanliness of offices and try to make working conditions as sanitary as possible. This may be even more vital should your role also involve physically dealing with members of the public.

Staying Safe

When a pandemic like covid-19 occurs, there may be additional safety measures that you should put in place. Some of these may be mandated, while others will be advised. Regardless of your thoughts on the severity of the situation, it is best to err on the side of caution. Even the most fashion-conscious individual can use branded covid protective masks to help keep themselves and others safe. This can help to prevent the spread of germs through coughing and sneezing. Companies themselves may also wish to consider purchasing masks which hold their logo, as part of their measures to keep employees safe and also advertise who they are.

Washing Hands

While keeping your hands clean and practising good hygiene is important on any average day, it is far more imperative when there is a pandemic going on. Considering the number of surfaces and items that you and your colleagues may touch during the average eight hour working day, there is a clear risk of germ transference. By washing your hands at regular intervals, as opposed to only when you have used the toilet, ensuring that the scrubbing process is achieved for a minimum of twenty seconds, you may be able to help prevent the spread of covid, as well as other viruses and bacteria that may be present, such as the common cold.

Remote Working

One option made available to some employees throughout the pandemic is remote working. So long as it is feasible to do so, you may be allowed to work from the comfort and safety of your own home. This may require you to take company property, such as laptops, home with you.

To make remote working as easy as possible, and to avoid disruption, it can be beneficial to set up your workspace in a seldom-used room in the house. If you have a spare room or home office, this may be ideal. Getting into a good routine, much as you would when physically present at work, can also help you to stay on track with your work.

Just because the world has changed around you, that does not mean that you cannot continue with some of your usual tasks, including those related to your employment. By following the health and safety guidelines set out by both the government and your employer, you may be able to increase your safety.