Over the past 18 months, we have all witnessed new ways of working. On one end of the spectrum, some Companies have seized on the benefits of remote work and announced the permanent closure of their offices. Those on the other end are eager for a return to their pre-pandemic standard, an entirely office-based work week. 

As we all know, the world witnessed a historic shift in working practices due to the Covid-19 pandemic. While some companies used to offer the ability to work from home as a perk, it has now become the norm for many businesses. By 2025, an estimated 70% of the workforce will be working remotely at least five days a month. While 2020 may be considered the year of remote working, it is clearly just the beginning of a new and increasingly upwards trend.

Remote working becomes permanent

The percentage of workers permanently working from home is expected to double in 2021.   The currency of productivity is proving that remote work is working – and working very well.

A recent survey revealed that over two-thirds (74%) plan to permanently shift employees to remote work after the Covid-19 crisis ends. As expected, Big Tech companies are paving the way. Twitter told employees in May that they could work from home indefinitely. Square, which is also led by Twitter’s Jack Dorsey, adopted a similar policy around the same time and will allow employees to work from home indefinitely, even after offices reopen. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg told employees in late May that many would work remotely indefinitely.

Remote working means less office space

It is predicted that the need for large physical office spaces will gradually become a thing of the past. Completely remote companies with no headquarters will continue to form as other organizations decide to reduce their office space for hybrid teams or forgo one altogether to save on costs.

Many companies are also planning a new combination of remote and on-site working, giving rise to a hybrid work model.  One strategy might be to have specific days for in-person meetings and collaboration, and then other days allocated for remote work.

Remote working makes cybersecurity vital

As organizations allow a significant part of the workforce to remain remote, cybersecurity will become an even greater concern. Organisations have reported that cybersecurity is extremely important or more important than before the pandemic. A real concern is around how data is being accessed and how to secure it effectively.

The shift to remote work has prompted many organizations to make significant new investments in their IT systems and infrastructure. Securing a remote workforce requires a different mindset and presents an expanded perimeter for an attack.

The Covid-19 pandemic has proven that we can work from home and do it effectively—without losing productivity. In a recent survey, 94% of employers said productivity was the same as or higher than before the pandemic, even with their employees working remotely.

It’s clear there is still a huge appetite for remote working and the wider conversation on hybrid working is just beginning.  Whilst no-one really knows how the future of work will actually pan out, it is clear from the pandemic that things can change very rapidly, so organisations must remain agile and open to change, as becoming too comfortable can prove extremely costly.

For more information, visit https://www.gov.uk/flexible-working

If you would like to discuss this topic in more detail or would like more information, contact Ramshaw HR today.