Homeworking: is it the future?

ended 18. April 2021

On Monday morning (April 19th) @ 09:30, the Office for National Statistics is publishing a detailed report on the growing trend of homeworking in the UK over the past decade, and specifically since the beginning of the pandemic.

It's likely to get a lot of pick-up as it's highly topical and so we will be issuing your views to the local, national and trade media. Questions you may want to answer include:

  • Will homeworking be more common than office-based work in the future?
  • What are the pros of homeworking — and the cons?
  • Are hybrid, or flexible work models best?
  • Does homeworking improve work/life balance, and wellbeing more generally?
  • Are employers who don't offer homeworking limiting their recruitment prospects?
  • Is homeworking more, or less productive, than office-based work?

Etc, etc.

Please keep your alert_responses short and punchy. Journalists prefer soundbites over essays!

Please be sure that you have selected yourself as an expert when you respond as alert_responses that aren't attributed can't be used!

5 responses from the Newspage community

"We have seen a definite increase in job candidates asking if the role will allow for some working from home. One downside of a hybrid approach, however, is the potential for a 2-tier system of employment to emerge, where those choosing to spend a larger proportion of their time in the office are seen as 'more committed' than colleagues who opt to work from home more. "In the corporate world, working from home can also mean you are not 'present' when career opportunities informally present themselves, for example, a during a water cooler conversation or cigarette or vape break. In other words, people who work from home more could potentially lose out on projects that could enhance their CVs, and increase their chances of promotion. "Remote working is without doubt an issue for people who are starting a new job, as you learn so much by sitting by an experienced employee, or through the natural 'osmosis learning' that occurs when hearing colleagues on the phone. "60% of my own team are women with primary childcare responsibilties, and they have been working flexibly around school drop-off and pick-up times. We are a small business so we use flexibility as a USP to attract talent."
"Logistically, the extent to which companies are able to adopt homeworking clearly depends on the industry they are in, but equally their culture and people also play a key role in how remote working is embraced. What can be said of all businesses in all sectors, however, is that a one-size-fits-all approach will always fail when it comes to homeworking. "We work across a number of industries. For example, manufacturing and engineering will not translate into working from home, unless you want to cause a degree of division in your workforce, namely those on site and those in operations. We are seeing this happen right now. "If your line of work is one that depends on collaboration and sharing, such as the creative industries, this doesn't translate well to working from home, despite the huge rise in online tools, as people tend to 'create' better when physically together."
"For many people, there's no doubt that homeworking is more productive than office-based work, although the outcome can often be poor work/life boundaries. Equally, some struggle without colleagues being physically present. "Allowing or encouraging homeworking is generally good for the soul. Who wants to be in a traffic jam or on a jam-packed tube when you could be having a coffee on your patio? "Wellbeing support for remote workers needs to be more robust. Apps can be useful but there is no substitute for human interaction. Being able to absorb the body language and attitude of staff is something hard to duplicate on a Zoom call."
"The option to work from home is now an expectation for job seekers. Countless pieces of tech now enable us to be highly productive from home and working remotely also offers employees crucial 'head space' to concentrate without interruption. "Hybrid models are by far the most effective, allowing businesses the chance to utilise office space cost-effectively and employees the option to blend work and home life seamlessly. "Maintaining a certain amount of office space in which people can collaborate, combine skills, thoughts and energy creates a social element to work that cannot be underestimated. Businesses that offer employees an element of choice to suit their private and working preferences will definitely feel the benefit from a recruitment perspective."
"The idea of the traditional workplace is now a thing of the past, because for so many of us our 'place' of work can mean everywhere and anywhere. While homeworking has presented an opportunity to employers and employees alike to explore the trust in their relationship and the potential benefits a flexible approach can yield, we must also remain wary of it. "Movements such as trades unions and worker collectives, already in retreat as a means of protection against hierarchical structures and the excesses of big business, are being starved of what ordinarily makes them so powerful: human connectedness. "There's no doubt that an era of labour market history came to an end with the Covid-19 pandemic. Change, of course, is inevitable and this evolution, like all others, is one we must adapt to if we are to achieve a positive outcome not just for the workforce but society as a whole. What’s absolutely critical is that we ensure basic human interaction is not compromised as part of the current workplace evolution."