A benefit of remote working for employers is the significant reduction in overheads due to limited use of the office during the peak of the coronavirus pandemic where government advice instructed workers to work from home. As a result, the likes of utility bills, cleaning and equipment maintenance fees have reduced, generating cost savings for businesses. As more employees are showing a preference to remote working on a part-time and full-time basis, this way of working is increasingly being embraced on a mainstream level.
Many workplaces with a traditional work culture instilled at the heart of the business have come to terms with remote working due to the ease of balancing work and personal commitments. Employee satisfaction is also a contributing factor as many employees have reported higher levels of productivity and efficiency.
Recent practice shows that businesses are turning to build offices to contain around 75% of the workforce capacity, rather than 100% by taking into consideration flexible working arrangements, job sharing, remote working and working from home. As the likes of Facebook and Google recently announced working from home until the end of 2020, and technology giant, Fujitsu, permanently enforced working from home, it’s more likely for remote working to transition into a long-term arrangement for businesses.
Importance of employee participation and communication
Businesses have increased the functionality of existing internal software and turned to external providers to integrate seamless communication facilities, such as Slack, Microsoft Teams and Zoom. Due to the sudden disruption in traditional working, many businesses have been forced to adapt to new technology to maintain business operations and to continue the delivery of services. As a result, employees are also adapting to maintaining a higher level of communication due to the forced break from office life resulting in less face time with colleagues, integral to job performance for many.
Businesses are finding new ways to bridge the social gap between colleagues, hoping to maintain relationships, team motivation, and strong work ethics. Many employers have introduced online social sessions, from hosting virtual murder mystery dinners and online pub meet-ups to ensure regular interaction between multiple offices.
Pleasures and mental health risks of remote working
The downside and the plus side of working from home are likely to vary for each employee as each person will have a different work environment, from equipment, distractions to personal commitments which overlap with work life. Each individual will experience remote working differently as while your colleagues may thrive from working in a home environment, you may suffer from feelings of isolation as a result of reduced social contact. Using modern technology to connect with your team, socialise and share personal news can help regain stronger mental health standing and improve your remote working experience.
Differentiating between remote working and home working is also a key factor as remote working facilities are intended to loosely resemble modern offices, however, working from home settings are self-established and can be as unconventional or conventional as you desire. Your chosen remote working location may mean a shorter morning commute to improve your mental health by slowing down your pace of living. Scheduling breaks and establishing a dedicated workspace can help you start the working day with a fresh view.
According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), nearly half of the UK workforce started working from home as a result of restrictions posed by Covid-19. As employers continue to keep employees at home, the shift to remote working on a long term basis has resulted in higher productivity and employee satisfaction. As the economy slowly recovers from Covid-19 pressures and workplaces adjust to communicating virtually and operating outside of traditional office space, it’s likely that a selected number of employees will never return to the office.
Paul Williamson is a Managing Director at Selling My Business, a specialist business transfer agent highly experienced in the sale and valuation of businesses. Founded in 1956, part of Ernest Wilson, the Selling My Business team has over 100 years’ collective experience and a wide range of sector specialisms.