Over the past few months, much has been written (by myself included) around what the sudden move to remote and flexible ways of working could mean in the long term. As some organisations now begin to reopen their doors, while others extend office closures, these conversations are beginning to move on, with the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on working arrangements starting to become more apparent. But, with some experience of new ways of working now under many organisations’ belts, is the UK truly ready for a fundamental shift?
According to Lansons and Optimum Research’s Working life after Covid-19 report, published earlier this week, 73% of the working adults surveyed believe flexible working will continue post-pandemic, with a third predicting that it will become the norm.
Research by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), also published this week, paints a similar picture. This showed that employers expect the proportion of people working from home on a regular basis once the pandemic is over to increase to 37%, up from 18% beforehand. Just under a quarter (22%) of employers, meanwhile, expect employees to continue working from home full time, up from 9% who said the same prior to lockdown.
For such arrangements to be successful, however, adaptation is necessary on both sides. With many organisations having had to move to remote working extremely quickly around lockdown in March, this may well still be a work in progress for many. While this may be a long-term project, involving ongoing conversations, ensuring staff feel supported and have everything they need to work remotely or flexibly is vital.
Around a third of employees, however, say they do not feel supported by their employer when working from home, according to research by Unipos. Just under half cited lack of communication as an issue, while 45% believe their creativity to share their ideas and feedback has been impacted by working remotely.
In some cases, this has led to employees bearing an additional financial burden. Just under two-thirds (63%) of UK respondents to Lenovo’s Technology and the evolving world of work report, for example, have purchased new technology to navigate working remotely, with a quarter having either fully or partially personally funded their own tech updates.
As we continue to navigate through this uncertain period, ultimately, only time will tell what the future of work holds. Ongoing conversations, open lines of communication and openness to flexibility on both sides of the employer/employee relationship will be vital to constructing a solution that works for all parties.