Three in four employers planning for more remote working
Close on three in four (71%) of UK businesses are planning to permanently adopt flexible and agile working practices post COVID-19 lockdown, according to a new survey.
The research conducted by Dale Office Interiors, which canvassed the opinions of MDs, CEOs and business owners, found that COVID-19 will have a long-term impact on how and where we work. Physical offices still play an important role, but the option to work remotely is here to stay.
This comes as no surprise when a whopping 80% of business leaders felt their employees had been either as productive or more productive while working remotely due to COVID-19, a testament to the drive and work ethic of the British workforce.
Offices still play an important role for face-to-face meetings, collaborative working, social interaction and for those who work better in those environments, but over half (56%) of business owners are planning to downsize to reduce overheads, using their new flexible/agile working practices to allow more staff to work remotely so they can leave their current offices in favour of smaller premises.
A range of permanent changes to office design are also being considered to allow businesses to adapt to a post-COVID world, including rethinking office layout to allow for easier and deeper cleaning (35%), integrating more antimicrobial materials into furnishings (23%), and installing hand sanitising stations throughout the office (61%).
David Bricknell, MD of Dale Office Interiors, says, “I think most people already knew intuitively that COVID-19 is going to have a big impact on how we work, but it’s still quite shocking to see the stats.
“Hygiene and social distancing will obviously be top priority in the short-term, and almost all UK businesses will have to invest in rethinking the way they work and their office design and layout. It’s amazing to see how far along the long-term thinking is among the leaders of British industry.
“Before lockdown, many businesses had failed to adopt flexible/agile working practices, preferring to stick with the traditional in-office, 9-to-5, five-day week, with the longstanding metrics for success largely due to a lack of trust and perceived costs.
“The one small benefit of COVID-19 is that it has given the British workforce the opportunity to prove itself capable of being as or more productive working remotely, enabling businesses to consider the long term benefits of allowing people to work where they work best, whether that be from home, in a booth in the office, at a desk, or even at a local coffee shop (when we can return to them). It has sparked a revolution!
“Allowing people to work remotely when they and the business will benefit from it will have a huge positive effect on everything from emissions due to less cars being on the road, to reducing sickness related absenteeism and improving the mental health of the nation, thus boosting productivity.”