FOR the majority of office workers and company bosses, COVID-19 has forced their hand when it comes to working from home – whether they like it or not.
Government figures suggest that 44 per cent of people are currently working from home, a big jump from 12 per cent during this time last year.
And while some business may have been wary or sceptical about remote working pre-pandemic, the UK’s office workers have risen to the challenge of adapting to a new way of working.
Peterborough-based recruitment firm Anne Corder Recruitment says that for many business, what started out as a steep and uncertain learning curve may actually become the new normal going forward.
Anne Corder said: “Some companies who may have viewed working from home with a little scepticism before lockdown will more than likely have had their opinions changed.
“There may have been staff who are already familiar with remote working on a regular basis, but for others it has been a steep learning curve – and one which the nation seems to have embraced.
“While it hasn’t been without it challenges, for many people the chance to work from home has allowed them to skip the commute or school run, have more family time, be more productive and embrace new skills through virtual meetings, for example, and has perhaps brought colleagues and teams closer together.”
Anne added: “With this in mind, along with continuing Government advice to work from home where possible and strict rules facing employers planning to bring their staff back into an office environment, this could be the new normal for some time to come. Throughout the pandemic, we have found that for a large number of employers have continued to work as close to normal as possible.
“As businesses have adapted, one of the very few positives to come out of COVID-19 could be that many of us end up working from home more often; saving money on travel and helping the environment.”
The findings of a recent report* has found that 45 per cent of respondents predict a permanent change in their employers’ approach to flexible working when the lockdown lifts.
The report, which is based on an ICM study of 2,019 UK workers and a YouGov survey of 4,509 adults (of whom 2,394 were workers), found that nearly half the workforce think flexible working will increase.
A third (33 per cent) expect to increase the amount they work from home by at least 3 days a week after lockdown – rising to 81 per cent for those expecting to work at least one day a week from home.