More than 1.54 million people already work from home in the UK. That’s more than a two-fold increase from a decade ago. The Covid-19 crisis has meant these have been joined by thousands of others, as employers do what they can to keep their businesses running, in what has become the largest mass experiment in remote and flexible working in corporate history.
The question is, now companies have been forced to allow their staff to work from home, will flexi work become the norm after the crisis has passed?
Flexible working arrangements means businesses are evolving
Those companies that were unsure, or resistant, to test flexible working, have had no choice but to make that leap of faith. And while this has caused some problems, certainly when it comes to putting strain on IT infrastructure and resources, many are seeing the benefits too. Because companies are having to upgrade their systems and processes to deal with working from home and flexible working hours, the resources will be there in future to continue these practices. Which, in turn, means, they will be able to offer flexible working jobs to new employees.
Flexi work benefits everyone
These companies may already be seeing the advantages of flexible working arrangements. Research has already found that these include increased productivity with one study seeing a boost of 13% in some workers. It’s useful for attracting new talent too. One poll found that 32% of people valued a job that allowed them flexible work arrangements.
Remote working results in lower absenteeism, as well as lower levels of office and commuter-related stress (and the costs associated with commuting), resulting in a better work-life balance. Flexible workers have more time and money to spend on family, friends and their hobbies, making them happier employees. There may be benefits for society as a whole. Fewer people commuting means reduced pollution and road traffic accidents.
Inevitably, there will also be downsides in flexible working. Many remote workers report feeling isolated and lonely, especially those who live alone. Some may go days without any real human contact. On the other side of the coin, those living in crowded household could find that noise and interruptions affects the quality of their work. Obviously, remote working won’t meet the needs of every business model. One study found that working from home more than 2.5 days per week could negatively affect relationships with co-workers, as well as knowledge transfer.
Flexible working is about to go viral
Research indicates that it takes about 66 days for a new behaviour to become a habit and new working arrangements look certain to endure for this length of time. That gives employers plenty of time to assess and test the technology available for flexible working arrangements. Covid-19 has given employers the opportunity to let go of traditional ideas of how we manage and measure work outputs and put in place new strategies that ensure that flexible work arrangements meets the needs of their employees and their business model.
We can certainly forward to more work from home jobs than ever before in the future. And, as always Zoek will be there to help you find the best flexible working jobs for your needs.
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