The Coronavirus pandemic saw many people start working from home. But now, is there really any reason to go back to the office?
One of the mantras of the Coronavirus lockdown was ‘work from home if you can’ – and the country listened. In April 2020, 47% of people in the UK were performing at least part of their role remotely. In London, where there is a higher proportion of office workers, that figure reached 57%.
The pandemic will hopefully end one day, but one thing that will not end is remote working. Workers and businesses alike have discovered that working from home ‘works’, as there are many benefits of remote work to both employees and businesses.
Benefits to employees
In August 2020, a survey found that 9 out of 10 employees would like to continue working from home in some form. That’s no surprise – the benefits of remote working are considerable.
The average commute for a London worker takes 81 minutes per day. Remote working eliminates that commute. Employees love how getting that time back has shifted their work-life balance back in favour of life. You can spend more time with the people you love, doing things you like to do. No commute also means less stress (if you’ve ever fought your way on to the tube at rush hour, you’ll know what I mean) and you could be saving thousands of pounds too.
As remote working takes over, employees do not have to live near where their company is anymore. This opens up a whole new world of job opportunities. Previously, if you wanted to work for Oracle in the UK, for example, you would probably have to live within commuting distance of their office in Reading. Now, you could be anywhere. Potentially, every company in the world you ever wanted to work for is available to you.
Finally, now everyone has settled into the rhythm of working from home, people are finding they can work smarter and get more done. In the same survey, more than 40% of respondents said they got as much work done at home compared to six months previously, when they were in offices.
Benefits to businesses
While the benefits of remote work to employees are easier to see, you can still find several advantages to employers too.
Just as workers can now work for any company no matter where they are in the world, employers can hire people without having to worry about where they are based. This opens up the talent pool massively, meaning they can hire the best of the best. Being able to advertise remote work or any other type of flexible working makes your business an attractive place to work, you will attract a higher calibre of applicant. It’s a win-win situation.
The fact that employees like working from home so much also brings benefits to their employers. Happier workers are more productive, they take fewer days off and they stay with the company for longer.
Remote work can also boost the bottom line of the business. Not having to run an office creates massive costs savings – rents, leases, energy, employee perks. If you’re a business renting an office in the City of London, for example, you could save hundreds of thousands of pounds.
Drawbacks to remote work
Of course, nothing is perfect. There are several disadvantages to remote working which means it’s not for everybody:
- Some people find working from home hard; you need to be disciplined and eliminate distractions. This is even harder if you have children in the house during the school holidays.
- Working from home can be lonely; you miss the hubbub of the office, the support from your team and the social scene.
- Others find that their work-life balance decreases when remote working, because they are ‘always at work’ and on-call 24/7.
- For some, working from home is hard because they don’t have the space. This is especially apparent for younger people who share flats, for example. Working from your bed or the sofa is not a sustainable way to go.
- It can be hard to build a profile in your company when you do not see your company leaders every day.
Some businesses have also found it difficult to adjust to the new world of remote work. Managers have had to learn to let go and trust in their teams a bit more. They have also had to learn to be much more precise in the way they communicate.
There are also economic disadvantages to remote working – train companies, commercial property owners and sandwich shops have all seen a decline in income now so many people don’t commute to an office anymore. This is one of the main reasons why the Government is keen to get people back into their offices once the pandemic eases.
The role of tech
The key to implementing remote work successfully is having the right tech. Businesses have had to work fast to find the right software to make their processes work.
Video conferencing software is essential for meetings, communications and also the social aspect of a team. It’s no surprise that Zoom has seen its revenue per quarter double since the pandemic.
E-Learning software is also booming as companies find new ways to train up their staff and workers want to upskill themselves independently. You can find out more in this article from Haystack.
Cybersecurity is also paramount now business’ systems are so dispersed. Cybercriminals know this too and see opportunities to steal data. Companies that close those loopholes are thriving in the new environment.
Find out more from Haystack
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