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Remote working: the new normal?

Remote working – for the few or the many?

While the coronavirus crisis is wreaking havoc across the globe, it is also forcing a change that none of us could have foreseen.

Just last year, 65% of workers said they felt more productive working from home than in an office environment. Despite this, home working was mainly a luxury reserved for the few.

Fast forward and here we are with around 20 million people working remotely, according to an ONS survey.

As soon as lockdown looked like a real possibility, businesses and workers began preparing. In early March, Google saw a surge in people looking for information on home working and tips on setting up their new habitats.

Priorities and mindsets have shifted rapidly. We’ve been shown a new way of living and working and we like what we’ve seen.

So much so that many remote workers have already asked to continue with the arrangement and even more would like to make it a permanent arrangement. These requests haven’t been met with enthusiasm by all employers though.

Why is homeworking so popular with employees?

People find they have more free time – considering the average daily commute is just short of an hour a day, that’s time that can be better spent. Less commuting is also great for the environment.

Half of those working remotely said their work-life balance had improved. While, of those not remote working, a similar percentage said they are considering a career change in order to achieve a work life balance.

Employers adapting to change

Government advice is to help people work from home where possible.

Businesses reap benefits by being more open to remote working and being flexible with the working day. Regardless of the sector, workers value flexibility – this has been proven to be a great motivator.

Drawbacks of remote working

While remote working is seen as a positive change by many, one in five remote workers say they struggle with loneliness. This can be particularly so for those who live alone.

While some have said that they find it difficult to switch off after they finish work. This could lead to stress or anxiety.

Many workers would like their employers to provide better technology to help them stay connected with colleagues.

Check in on remote workers

Employers have a duty to ensure their staff are safe in their work environment, whether it’s home or office.

Check remote workers are able to work safely and comfortably and have the right tools for the job. Check in regularly with them – a simple call to ask how they are and if they have all they need will generally suffice.

Legal support for employers

If you are having to adapt to change in the workplace, make sure your policies and procedures reflect the new working practices. For expert help and advice on all aspects of employment law call 01302 320621 or email  

Get in touch today