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The Hybrid Workplace Could Be Three Days

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Posted on: Thursday August 25, 2022

by Andrew Walker, New Business Development Director

When restrictions lifted, the UK reopened, and people returned to the office for 2-3 days a week. This hybrid trend has stuck around, but is it sustainable?

According to data from the government, before the pandemic, around 5% of the workforce reported working mainly from home. This number skyrocketed to just under 50% in 2020 – an increase of 820%. The pandemic unlocked and normalised remote working. However, now that restrictions have been lifted, many employees and employers are trying to strike a balance between pre-pandemic working conditions and working from home.  

But without the restrictions, why would an employer even consider remote working? 

Working from home increases productivity 

Since the government lifted pandemic restrictions, companies are now within their rights to ask employees to return to the office. And unless previously agreed in a contract, employees are not automatically entitled to flexible working. The main argument for why staff should return to the office is based on productivity. Employees are more productive working in the office, or so it’s said. But recent figures show that to be untrue. In Q4 of 2021, output per hour worked from remote working was 2.3% above pre-pandemic levels in 2019. 

The benefits are greater than just productivity 

Not only is working from home beneficial to companies, but there are also significant benefits to employees – aside from the time and money saved on the commute. Employees who work from home report reduced rates of chronic workplace stress. And working remotely could reduce “a worker’s likelihood of experiencing stress by 18 percentage points.” 

But remote work isn’t always a positive 

A report by the WHO says remote work can blur the boundaries of work and our private lives, often leading to individuals working longer hours. There’s also research showing that working from home leads to greater loneliness, which can negatively impact the structure of our brains. Without people to see us, we start to lose ourselves. It gets worse — for people who experience domestic violence and abuse, working from home full-time can exacerbate the situation.  

Flexibility remains a priority for workers 

An unwillingness to accommodate this may leave some companies short on staff if they try to enforce a total ban on remote work. Around 23% of employees surveyed by WFH Research said they’d find a new job if they were told to return to the office five days a week. Fully remote and going back five days a week doesn’t seem to be the answer, there needs to be a compromise. 

Hybrid working seems to be the best solution for the future of work. The good news is that many companies have started to notice these benefits, and more than three-quarters of surveyed employers said they have embraced hybrid work. So, for now, the future of work is hybrid, and workplaces should look to embrace that if they want to retain top talent and increase productivity.   

For more insights about the future of work, reach out to our team or subscribe to read more of our blogs

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