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Has ‘Flexi working’ changed businesses for the better?

Posted in General News on 20th January 2023

Arguably the last two years have changed how we work and conduct business as the pandemic created abundant changes in the workplace. Nationwide, we saw many companies introduce remote working; where all business was done from home using tech to complete day-to-day tasks. Now that the pandemic is no longer in a critical stage and restrictions have been lifted, we still see a lot of companies choosing to stick with the working from home format. Flexible working (or hybrid working) has become the new norm, where people split their working days between the office and working from home. This article will investigate the different reactions to remote and hybrid working.

Negative affects

There is a mixed opinion on remote and hybrid working. A survey conducted by Goodhire revealed that 51% of managers preferred their employees to return to the office full-time. The survey results demonstrate an almost equal split between companies wanting to return to the old ways of working (full-time in the office) and wanting to use flexible models for work. It is no secret that people are creatures of habit therefore, remote/hybrid working may not be sufficient as people need that separation between home and work life for routine as well as for mental health.

A negative effect of remote and hybrid working can be the loss of office culture. A fundamental part of any company is the social aspect of the business, creating a positive and supportive working environment. Remote and hybrid working may not be able to offer the same level of support that in-person interactions with one another do. When discussing issues and opinions on different tasks, it is crucial that your work colleagues feel their voices are heard, they may not feel this way if all communication happens online.

Hybrid work, where you split your time between home and the office, appears to have a significant adjustment period as you become accustomed to switching between these two different environments. The hot-desking system, where you may move your seat regularly or share a working space with another person who alters days in the office with you, has become a common practice in many businesses. People value consistency and enjoy having a space to call their own. Therefore, the hot-desking system may leave staff feeling disorientated and affect their concertation as they deal with this jarring shift between home and the office.

Turning a business fully remote has risks attached to it. The main risk is that no one is entirely sure remote working will be successful and work in the long run. Working remotely for your company is a new business model. There is not enough evidence to say how successful the business will be when it is all remote and how the company can expand.

Positives affects

Alternatively, a report from the Office of National Statistics states that 63% of employees in the scientific and tech industries are working a hybrid schedule and that the flexible work style has had a positive effect on workers. Furthermore, 51% of Generation Z and Millennials said they are currently working a hybrid mix and would switch to remote working, as it has saved them money. The report also stated that the workers found they had more hours in the day and found remote working to be time efficient.

“Workers say when they have little to no ability to set their own hours, they find work more stressful and increases anxiety adding to a worse work-life balance.”

-Casey. A, Office of National Statistics report UK 2021

Moreover, 52% of this same age group stated they would move to a new location because of policies which enable them to work remotely. Hybrid working can be complexed; many workers would prefer to switch to fully remote work. The shift to remote working has meant that the talent pools for potential candidates have expanded. Workers are no longer limited to location when applying for a job and a recruiter can look nationally for the perfect candidate.

The Expert Market revealed that 92% of CEOs found that remote working had many positive benefits. The 2022 effective communications report states an increase in employee productivity, happiness and mental health since the introduction of remote working.

In March 2021, adverts using terms related to “homeworking” increased to 23.4% of total adverts. Even with restrictions easing in spring 2021, remote vacancies remained high. Looking specifically at the IT, Computing and software sectors, remote working vacancies only fell by 0.1%, demonstrating that there is still a high demand for remote work.

The Business Insights and Conditions Survey data found that 24% of businesses intend to increase remote working in the future as their permanent business model, and 28% were not sure if they want to have a remote hybrid model.

The remote and hybrid working business models are a new concept; used during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Opinions and Lifestyle Survey discovered in a short amount of time the advantages and disadvantages of working from home. The survey found that the main advantage of homeworking was an improvement in work-life balance. The pivotal disadvantage to homeworking was that it is harder to collaborate with others on work. However, there has also been a reduction in the time it takes to complete work tasks; due to fewer distractions at home compared to an office environment.

What are your opinions on remote/hybrid working?

Would the flexible working method suit you and meet your needs best?

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