The COVID-19 virus and its subsequent lockdowns and restrictions worldwide has impacted business substantially across all sectors, leaving millions of workers unemployed and millions more being forced to work from home, specifically in office jobs where employees could perform their functions without physically being in office such as in the legal, creative, IT, government and financial sectors, among others. The push into remote work has changed the workplace, forcing a transformation that businesses and workers had to adapt to quickly.
60% of employed adults in the UK are working from home
By April 2020 shortly after the novel coronavirus was classed a pandemic, a report by the UK’s Office for National Statistics showed that 49.2% of employed adults in the Uk were working from home, as a result of the social distancing measures introduced in response to the pandemic. By September 2020, that number had increased to 60% according to another report. According to this report by Finder.com 26% of Brits plan to continue to work from home permanently or occasionally after lockdown.
The benefits of working from home are increased productivity and reduced costs
Research has suggested that there are benefits to employees working from home which includes happier employees because studies show that majority of employees want to have the choice to work from home atleast some of the time. These studies have shown that more than 65% of employees believe they would be more productive in a home office than a normal office. It also showed that two-thirds of employers reported an increased productivity for remote workers compared to in-office workers.
These studies showed a variety of other benefits for working from home including a reduction in pollution such as CO2 emmissions, more free time due to not needing to commute, where the current daily average for a commuter is 59 minutes in the UK.
The down-side to working remotely can be loneliness and unpaid overtime
30.9% of remote workers said they struggled with loneliness when working remotely and another 22% said they struggled swtiching off after work. According to the study employees who work from home take fewer breaks adnd work an average of 10 hours unpaid overtime.
The way that employees are working is definitely changing, and we will likely see many employees working from home for the forseeable future and businesses are adapting to that mindset.
Opportunity is vast for skilled remote-workers
Many businesses who have had to retrench employees are also looking at alternative means of getting their operations back up and running which means there is opportunity for skilled workers to use their skills as an outsourced service which will potentially be more beneficial down the line as it has the value of working from home but also offers:
- Flexible working hours
- The ability to benefit from overtime work by charging hourly rates compared to a fixed salary
- No need to worry about daily commutes, or stressful work environments and office-politics
- Ability to be in-charge of decision-making
- Freedom to be creative
- Because you’re in control, you get to choose which projects you take on
Maybe outsourcing is for you, maybe it isn’t but working from home is something we will see being a reality for a long time to come, post-COVID, worldwide.