At the beginning of 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in a dramatic change in how people worked. With many workplaces closed, working from home became a necessary step for many employees. Two years later the pandemic is showing signs of winding down, but working from home is still popular. But is it still just a phase, or is working from home a sign of things to come?
It should be noted that while many workers are working from home, it is not prevalent in every industry. Industries involving information, communication and finance see higher levels of remote working, whereas for public-facing industries like retail, accommodation and food & drink the rate is naturally lower.
One factor that could result in remote working being here to stay is advances in technology. It is now easier than ever to bring people together virtually.
A tool like the ON24 Forums allows employers to create a virtual conference that can effectively allow for meetings, presentations and other events to be held remotely. While in-person events still have their place, the convenience and cost-friendly nature of these tools make it considerably easier for a business to run such events and removes several barriers to entry, meaning these events can reach a wider and more diverse audience.
One of the biggest worries from employers is how working from home will affect their employees’ productivity. Working in an environment ripe with distractions has the potential to be disastrous for productivity, or so you’d think. Surprisingly, various studies have shown that working from home may actually increase an employee’s productivity. There are a few reasons for this, from the lack of travel time and the aforementioned advances in technology. While this will vary from company to company, it seems that an employee working from home can be just as productive, if not more so, than if they were in the office.
Finally, the option of remote working does seem to be popular with employees. This can be seen in the fact that jobs offering hybrid working and flexible hours are becoming more popular in the UK. Research showed that a quarter of jobs advertised at the end of 2021 offered hybrid working, an increase of 19% from before the pandemic. With hybrid working becoming more popular, businesses that offer this benefit may find they have an edge over competitors who don’t offer it.
Though working from home was present before the pandemic, the last two years have seen an explosion of businesses offering remote working. Given that the pandemic is still ongoing it is perhaps still a bit too soon to determine whether this is still just a phase or whether working from home is a sign of things to come. Nonetheless, there is reason to believe that hybrid working could continue to be an option in the future. In part exacerbated by the pandemic, new solutions are continuously being found that allows businesses and their employees to be just as productive when remote working as they would be in an office. The constantly evolving nature of technology means that remote working could continue to be popular for the foreseeable future.