With the end of Lockdown on the horizon, what's next for remote, office or hybrid working

It's been a mixed bag for workers in Lockdown; on the one hand, parents with younger children have had to home-school on top of their job. For others, the challenge of flatmates working off the same kitchen table has been difficult at best. 

No one has missed the long commute; add to that the cost savings and the positive environmental impact, more than 50% of employees state they would now leave their jobs for one that offers remote or flexible work.

According to 'FlexJobs' survey, 95% of respondents say that their productivity has been higher or the same working from home, and *51% report being more productive when working remotely. Despite pandemic challenges, working parents also report increased productivity, with 49% of working mothers and 50% of working fathers saying they are more productive working from home. 

Top reasons for increased productivity include:

  • Fewer interruptions
  • More focused time
  • Quieter work environment
  • More comfortable workspace
  • Not being involved in office politics

However, for those joining the workplace for the first time, many new employees have missed out on ‘learning through osmosis' and social interaction from being in the office, with the most significant effect on Apprentices and Kickstarters.  Whilst young people are happy to be in work right now, many of them are itching to get into the workplace to gain learning through face-to-face interaction. 

So, how do businesses manage the gains from remote working preferences, the *improved productivity whilst managing the young new starters and the other 49% keen for face office interaction?

In a recent PwC survey, 83% of participants say remote work has been successful for their company, yet only 13% say they're ready to let go of the office for good. The overwhelming majority say the office is important for collaborating with team members and building relationships.

Companies appear to have differing views, Jane Fraser, CEO of Citigroup, recently told the Wall Street Journal that she imagines "everyone back in the [office]. I do think from a cultural point of view—apprenticeship, the sense of belonging—you are better together." Other companies are making remote work permanent.

In the UK, well-known tech companies including HubSpot, Reddit, Dropbox, Twitter, and Facebook are embracing a hybrid-working model - a flexible combination of remote and office work.

Despite its advantages, creating a successful hybrid working model may present challenges for business leaders to re-evaluate not just the hard financial implications such as savings from reduced office space vs. increased tech investments, but softer management issues such as culture and communication, managing a diverse workforce, work policies, employee rights, accountability visibility, and performance management.

For SME’s, this appears like a minefield of tasks when developing new services, strategies, sales and marketing.  Luckily, in the UK, some companies have already have models in place that we can take ideas from, tech companies that offer collaborative working tools and management institutions to provide advice and insights, such as the Chartered Institute of Management, Small Business Federations, not forgetting and government incentives for employing new and adaptable talent.

Here a useful link from the CMI, which will provide you with Key Takeaways on how to:

  • To build a successful remote or hybrid company, make mindful decisions about your culture and communication.
  • Assess your workforce. Create employee personas to help simplify the varying needs and preferences of your employees.
  • Rethink your office space to reflect the shifting priorities of hybrid and remote-friendly working.
  • Finally, support the transition to hybrid working with remote-friendly People processes and tools. In particular, update your recruitment strategy, onboarding and induction systems, and your approach to performance management

Aspire to Learn is approved to deliver The Chartered Institute of Management Level 5 and Leadership and Management qualification.  If you wish to upskill your key managers, please get in touch with us.


Learning by the osmosis isn't a thing

CNBC Workforce hire


12 Apr 2021