While remote working is not a new phenomenon in the UK, it is certainly an area of business that has become more popular, particularly as the country reeled from the far-reaching effects of the Covid-19 lockdown.
According to recently released data, on average, 27% of the UK workforce worked from home during 2019. This percentage grew to 37% in 2020. Furthermore, 24% of businesses that did not permanently stop trading due to the pandemic stated they intended to increase remote work going forward, with the information and communication industry recording the highest proportion of 49% remote employees.
Another study found that 85% of people who are currently working remotely are leaning towards a hybrid approach where they alternate between remote working and working at the office.
Based on these numbers, it’s fair to say that remote working is here to stay.
Why remote working has become more popular
The onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, which resulted in quarantines, lockdowns, and self-imposed isolation, transcended the cultural and technologies that previously prevented remote working in the past for most people.
Now that vaccination programmes are rolling out, a big question looms: is remote working here to stay?
Why remote working is here to stay
Many businesses started to realise when the UK workforce was forced to work from home during lockdown that it can be quite an effective way to work. Initially, companies had to rush to implement technologies that made it possible for teams to work remotely. However, now that these systems are in place, it now makes more sense (and is more possible) to allow employees to work remotely.
Another reason why both organisations and their staff will most likely continue to embrace working remotely is that productivity levels have proven to be higher when people work from home, more than 75% higher, to be specific. It has also been reported that people would be willing to be paid less if they could work remotely. So, if employees are more productive working from home, it would make a lot of sense both financially and logistically, to let them continue to do so.
A recent survey also found that 77% of respondents feel that they have a far better work-life balance by working remotely. This may not be important to you or your company, but it has been proven that employees who have an effective work-life balance are able to perform better at work. Virtual teams are also reporting that working remotely actually results in lowered stress levels.
What you need to know about remote working
If your business is going to continue to allow staff to work remotely in our post-pandemic world, there are a number of things you need to consider to ensure your virtual teams are happy, productive, and consistently working to achieve company goals.
You might want to still have in-person meetings
Now that it is safer for us to attend social gatherings, it might be a good idea to set up regular in-person meetings to keep everyone connected, rather than having each member of your team working in isolation. Flexible coworking spaces have emerged all over the UK, allowing teams to collaborate and work together, often while enjoying a cup of coffee.
Do you want to continue paying for office space?
It is quite possible that a big expense for your company is renting out office space, furnishing this space, and keeping amenities clean and well-maintained. If you’ve decided that your employees are going to be working remotely on a permanent basis, it might be an option to eliminate the expense of having physical premises and opting for the cheaper option of occasionally paying to use coworking space.
You might want to accommodate a hybrid model
According to a survey that covers the period of 5 April to 2 May 2021, the proportion of people working from home has been declining since March as restrictions began easing. It has been found that 85% of workers in the UK prefer a hybrid approach to the new way of working. A hybrid approach means allowing your staff to work from home as well as at the office. For many people, much of their work can be done from home, while certain tasks require an on-site presence. You may want to consider adopting this approach in your company.
Consider hiring virtual employees
Another way that businesses are gravitating towards remote working is by hiring virtual employees. Rather than having permanent staff who work from home, you can outsource just about any task to a virtual employee. Our virtual employees, who can handle everything from day-to-day admin to integrated digital marketing strategies, are well-versed in working remotely and will slot effortlessly into your remote team.
Will your company be joining the 16% of companies globally that are now completely remote and do not have offices or head quarters whatsoever? It seems that not only has remote working increased significantly since the start of lockdown, but it is also set to grow and evolve even further in the coming years. If your business is not yet incorporating a work from home approach, it might be highly beneficial to consider doing so, not only because of its financial advantages but because it may make your staff a whole lot happier.