Should employers embrace remote working?
Remote working boosts productivity
The UK’s productivity rate is currently the second lowest in the G7, in what experts are calling a lost decade of growth.
Consequently, maximising productivity is high on the agenda for employers and employees alike, with many looking towards embracing new working practices as a means of increasing output. The option to work from home is currently offered by 65% of employers, and with one in five workers feeling more productive when working remotely, this trend comes as no surprise.
This flexibility is certainly valued by employees, with Totaljobs research revealing that 28% of workers would now change jobs for one that offered remote working.
Remote working is one of the most important company benefits for 19% of employees – so much so that if torn between two roles, one in five would take the one offering this option. In fact, working from home is sought after more than enhanced parental leave, travel allowances and, most surprisingly, learning and development schemes. This indicates that employers offering flexible working options including remote working are well respected by their teams, as it shows a willingness to adapt to individual working needs.
The value employees place on remote working differs between regions.
The top three areas of the UK where working from home is one of the most important benefits for workers are:
- London – 29%
- Yorkshire and the Humberside – 24%
- East of England – 23%
Employees in the following regions are less interested in this benefit:
- North East England – 12%
- Wales – 10%
- Northern Ireland – 9%
Why is remote working valued so much by employees?
Remote working has multiple benefits. 22% of employees prefer remote working because there are fewer distractions; 21% believe they are more productive overall when working from home. The latter is echoed by 19% of employers. Despite this, 16% of employees who have the option to work remotely think their colleagues who are also doing so may not be working hard enough.
Trust plays a powerful role in this arrangement between employers and workers too. Over a quarter (28%) of employees see the agreement to work from home as a sign of trust from their boss. This factor is a sure sign of a strong working relationship and this feeling of trust is sure to translate to a boost in company morale generally. Interestingly, this trust does not necessarily go both ways for employers – 15% of those offering remote working admit to using software to track how long employees spend working at their laptops.
From an employer perspective, 38% offer remote working to support employees in managing their work-life balance. A quarter (24%) of employers say they offer remote working as it helps to reduce staff leave, emphasising the push to maximise staff productivity.
Discussing the impact of the remote working offering on productivity and team morale, Georgie Howlett, Head of Operations at Kin & Co, said:
“There are loads of benefits to our flexible working – it comes up as one of the main perks of working at Kin&Co – we’ve got mums who like to work from home some days to fit around seeing more of their kids, people working out of different spaces in London for a change of scenery, and colleagues who are based in Bristol, Barcelona and Canada! We’re all about attracting the industry’s superstars, which often means flexibility when it comes to where and how they work. For both the Wednesday Break and flexible working, it’s a win, win – a top notch happy team working productively.”