Is it time to embrace the remote office?
The pandemic changed absolutely everything we know about how business works today. That much is completely undeniable. We saw major changes in how employees wanted to work and how they had to work during the various lockdowns and extended sick/isolation periods we have endured over the last two years. As offices begin to return to full capacity and employees start to return to work, we have also seen a correlation of employees refusing to return to their old jobs, having had so much time off to assess the priorities in their life.
Once it became apparent that it was not completely necessary for all employees across all fields to work in an office environment, providing remote work has become somewhat of a recruitment USP for many business managers and owners. The UK is currently in the grip of somewhat of an employment problem, with 1.3 million vacancies across the country without the employees to fill them. A large number of those vacancies have been created by a large number of over 50s deciding that they did not want to return to work after such a long period away, with only two-fifths considering going back to work at all.
As with all market issues, it comes down to supply and demand. There is high demand for employees currently, with low supply. Therefore, for many companies, it has become imperative to create an attractive environment that allows employees to do the work the way they want. Furthermore, with fewer employees, overheads for renting office space to work may be redundant. So, is it time to fully embrace the remote office in 2022?
Does remote working improve productivity?
The argument here is that by working from home, employees are able to manage their home life at the same time as doing their work. Working adults can look after their affairs for those with young children or pets while performing their duties. Initially, one might consider these to be distractions from work. However, there is also the argument to be made that working adults can deal with issues as they arise, allowing them to stay on top of everything going on in their lives instead of being distracted or worried at work, where they are unable to deal with it.
Furthermore, there is considerably less pressure when workers are in an environment they’re comfortable in. It is a well-known fact that stressed minds produce less or worse quality work when they’re not relaxed, which can be addressed if employees are allowed complete control over their environment.
Removing an unnecessary commute from our employees’ daily lives also helps reduce stress levels. Getting stuck in traffic in the morning is a stressful situation we all wish we didn’t have to worry about. With the remote office, we don’t have to!
Additionally, remote working life provides a break from the environment. The European Environment Agency reported that covid resulted in temporary improvement in air quality, lower greenhouse gas emissions and lower noise pollution across Europe. As the climate crisis continues to be a global issue, it is probably a good thing not just for us but for the planet to remove the morning and evening commutes from our employees’ lives.
So is it time?
It depends on your business model. For hospitality, retail and other service businesses, it’s unlikely that remote working is workable. However, for office owners, there are plenty of reasons to jump to the remote office. With programs like slack, zoom and screen share becoming so popular and easy to use, there are certainly plenty of reasons to go for it.