Remote working and reduced office space here to stay
Remote working is a permanent fixture of the global workforce, according to a pan-industry survey of senior business leaders on the future of work.
A definitive 94% of respondents asserted that their companies will incorporate remote working post-Covid-19 with less than 3% disagreeing in the data collected by the world’s leading recruitment process outsourcing provider Cielo.
Unsurprisingly and as a direct result of this shift, 83% of those surveyed said their organisations will reduce or are considering a reduction in the amount of office space required for their operations.
Our traditional 9-5 working model has also come under the microscope, with 64% of professionals questioning whether their businesses would revert to normal hours once the crisis is over. However, 34% expected their organisations to return to the accepted Western model.
This shake-up of the workforce carries significant benefits for employees, with flexible working (91%), reduced travel costs (92%) and a better work/life balance (78%) all scoring highly in the survey. Negatives cited were isolation (93%), reduced team management and support (61%), reduced communication (48%) and worries over career progression (37%) and learning and development (24%).
Remote working proved to be a double-edged sword for employers as well, with respondents enjoying reduced overheads (67%), increased productivity (65%) and reduced absenteeism (58%), but less keen on difficulties arising around team building (85%), maintenance of equipment (45%) and maintaining oversight of the workforce (44%).
While an increase in permanent remote working looks inevitable, companies cited several areas that need work before they will be set up to run a predominantly remote operation. Training for managers of remote teams (77%), the introduction of remote working policies (68%), establishing some remaining physical interaction (64%), new ways of delivering development programmes (55%) and investment in new software (52%) and hardware (27%) are all on company agendas as they navigate the change brought by the outbreak.
Seb O’Connell, president EMEA of Cielo, said: “The pandemic has catapulted organisations years ahead technologically in mere weeks and there are significant benefits to both employers and employees.
“Our survey found that productivity has increased while commuting spend has decreased and people are achieving a better work-life balance. The trade-off is potential isolation, lack of transparency of team for managers and striking the right balance around communications.
“It is vital that organisations listen to their employees and put in the investments now to achieve a working model that is fully functional by the time lockdowns are completely abolished.”