Home working here to stay, study of businesses suggests
More home working is likely to be a permanent fixture for a majority of businesses, according to a study. A survey of just under 1,000 firms by the Institute of Directors (IoD) shows that 74% plan on maintaining the increase in home working.
More than half planned on reducing their long-term use of workplaces. A smaller survey of bosses whose firms had already cut workplace use suggested 44% of them thought working from home was proving “more effective”.
“Remote working has been one of the most tangible impacts of coronavirus on the economy. For many, it could be here to stay,” said Roger Barker, director of policy at the IoD.
“Working from home doesn’t work for everyone, and directors must be alive to the downsides. Managing teams remotely can prove far from straightforward, and directors must make sure they are going out of their way to support employees’ mental wellbeing.”
Companies are not likely to switch fully to home working, he continued.
“The benefits of the office haven’t gone away. For many companies, bringing teams together in person proves more productive and enjoyable. Shared workspace often provides employees the opportunity for informal development and networking that is so crucial, particularly early on in a career.”
The UK’s oldest business lobby group said 958 company directors were surveyed between 11 and 31 September, mostly from smaller businesses. The study follows a BBC survey in August which suggested that 50 of the biggest UK employers had no plans to return all staff to the office full-time in the near future.
The BBC questionnaire found that 24 firms did not have any plans in place to return workers to the office.
However, 20 have opened their offices for staff unable to work from home.
Nine in 10 workers who have worked from home during lockdown would like to continue in some form, researchers found in an academic study.
A report published in August by academics at Cardiff and Southampton universities suggests the majority of people working from home are as productive, if not more. Thousands of people were surveyed three times between April and June.