During a press conference on Monday 16th March, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that measures must be taken to help contain the spread of COVID-19, including the emphasis on remote working and social distancing. Although removing yourself from your usual work and social routine may seem draining – you shouldn’t expect the worst.
Jason Mander, CRO for GlobalWebIndex responded, saying: “No doubt many employers and employees will be feeling anxious and dreading the announcement made by the Prime Minister, encouraging all that can, to work from home. However, it is not all doom and gloom, there are many advantages to remote working.
“Truth be told, it’s a trend already infiltrating many industries, particularly as the millennial workforce demands greater flexibility in their work lives. We simply happen to find ourselves forced upon it, virtually overnight rather than a gradual uptake.”
Advantages for employees
A GlobalWebIndex study found that companies that permit remote working have a 20% higher employee satisfaction, and a 17% greater workplace culture. Forty-five per cent of the UK population spend over an hour commuting to work, and remote working cuts that time and allocates it to other activities such as childcare, socialising or catching up on sleep. The same percentage of remote workers, in fact, report getting better sleep than workers who do not work from home.
“Among global professionals, the option for remote working is associated with better personal outcomes. Those who work for employers that permit remote working are more inclined to rate their companies as “good” or “excellent” for employee morale, communication, productivity, collaboration, and overall culture – compared to those where it is not permitted.”
Advantages for employers
The same study found that productivity rises by 16% when remote working is permitted, despite the popular stereotype that employees become less productive and more distracted when working from home. Seventy-six per cent of workers also said that they would be more loyal to their employer if they provided them with remote working options, with the same study predicting that there would be a 10% increase in employee retention by 2020.
“Technological developments have facilitated a more fluid, equitable way of working by creating seamless connections across employees of all levels. Included in these developments are tools like Slack, Google Hangouts, and Zoom. Not only do they help facilitate remote working, but their usage in our general work lives has been found to help make us more productive and collaborative. Among business professionals who report using collaboration tools only once a week, for example, their rating of productivity in their organizations as “good” or “excellent” is at 71%. As frequency of collaboration tool usage increases, so does this perception – among those who use collaboration tools several times a day, 83% rate their companies highly on productivity.”
A Gallup study found that those who work remotely 60-80% of the time feel their relationship and development needs are met more than other remote and office workers. It also found that despite the lonely stereotype of remote working, those who work from home are most likely to say that they feel that someone at work cares about them as a person.
Although lifestyle and routine changes can be daunting, and can be difficult to adjust to, remote working benefits both employers and employees in the long run. While the COVID-19 pandemic sees more people than ever work from home, we may see the trend continue long after.