The last 12 months has led to the rapid increase in the numbers of people working from home, or remotely. We take a look at how this trend looks set to continue post-pandemic and what it means for workers everywhere.
The rise in remote working has been increasing for several years. Since 2005 the number of those working from home has increased 159%. Pre-pandemic, in 2019, 61% of global companies already allowed their staff to work remotely.
The events of 2020 however have sped up this increase. In April 2020, according to data from the National Statistics Office in the UK found that 49.2% of UK employees were working from home.
As the impact of the pandemic continues to keep many workers at home, many companies and organizations are making plans, post-pandemic, that will keep their employees working remotely permanently.
Nationwide, the UK’s largest building society, has recently launched its Work Anywhere initiative, which will allow it’s non branch based staff to work from home permanently. The initiative was launched after 57% of their staff supported the continuation of working from home regardless of pandemic restrictions.
The company is allowing it’s employees to take control over where they work, having found that this has led to higher productivity and employee satisfaction, when compared to making employees working full time from an office.
This rise in remote working, and a shift to remote working full time, is expected to have a profound influence, not only only how we work, but the future of how we plan our cities as well.
The impact of a permanent shift to full time remote work
- Reduced expenses: Nationwide’s decision to move many of its employees to working from home full time, will mean it can give up three of its main offices. The saving on office space rent, and running costs, are significant for all sizes of businesses, when workers are working remotely.
- Increased productivity: Most organizations (and employees) record higher productivity levels when employees choose where they work. The idea that working from home means greater distractions and reduced productivity, does not actually pan out.
- Increased staff retention: Employees who have control over where they work, and who have the option to work full time from home, are happier employees. Satisfied employees stay longer in their jobs, and do them better too. Millennials, especially, are more likely to respond politely to working from home options, and would prioritise working for a company that allows them such flexibility.
- Flexibility: Working remotely means employees are in control of where they work, and their lives are a great deal more flexible when they can work from home. Working not to a clock, but to task completion, is a large part of working from home, and as long as the work is done, remote workers are free to use their time their own way.
- Less stress: Working remotely eliminates the morning, and evening commutes, both of which are incredibly stressful for many workers. They also eliminate much of the stress of office politics.
- Work from anywhere: This means employees are not tied to living near their offices, which might be in expensive parts of a city or country. Remote work allows many people the opportunity to reduce their living costs, or even travel while they work.
Working from home looks set to not only increase, in terms of the numbers working remotely but also looks set to change the ways in which we live and work significantly at the same time.
It will give many employees, free from commuting, greater flexibility in where they live. It will also lead to an increase in demand for co-working spaces, where employees can come and go as they please, and have somewhere to work, close to home.
Better yet are evolved co-living spaces which incorporate great places to live, with quality co-working spaces. As more and more people work remotely, mixed-use living and working options are set to become increasingly popular, and for good reason. If we can live and work from anywhere, why not opt for somewhere that combines great living and working spaces?