Two fifths of managers believe their company would benefit from remote working in the future, and would consider encouraging their company to be fully remote beyond the pandemic, according to new research.

Remote work forever? 40% of managers considering staff home working ‘beyond pandemic’

The study, from Hoxton Mix, indicates that attitude towards permanent remote work varies between industries. For example, more than 3 in 5 (64%) of respondents who work in the Sales, Media and Marketing industries agree that this would be a positive change, but only less than 1 in 5 (16% of workers in the Arts and Culture sector agree).

Hoxton Mix surveyed over 1,000 Brits who are currently working from home during the Covid-19 pandemic, in order to reveal the perceptions on remote working in the future and how work-life balance has changed.

Key findings:

• Three quarters (70%) of Brits believe Covid-19 will increase the number of businesses that will opt to work from home
• More than a third (37.5%) of business owners believe their company should consider moving to be fully remote after the Covid-19 pandemic
• More than half of surveyed Brits (52%) reveal their work-life balance has improved since working from home during Covid-19
• Workers aged 55 and above predict more changes when it comes working from home after Covid-19 than 16-24 year olds do
• 2 in 5 (40%) workers aged 55 and over are more productive whilst working from home during Covid-19

It’s estimated that 20 million people are now working at home since the coronavirus pandemic hit, which has increased from 1.7 million prior to the outbreak, meaning more Brits than ever before are having to navigate remote working.

Predictions on the future of remote working

The survey reveals that 2 in 5 managers (40%) believe their company would benefit from remote working in the future, and would consider encouraging their company to be fully remote beyond the pandemic. However, the attitude towards this varies between industries. For example, more than 3 in 5 (64%) of respondents who work in the Sales, Media and Marketing industries agree that this would be a positive change, but only less than 1 in 5 (16% of workers in the Arts and Culture sector agree).

Attitudes towards this sentiment also varies between cities, as over a third (35%) of respondents in London agreed that this would be a positive move for their company, but only 1 in 5 (21%) respondents in Belfast felt the same.

So what do employees think about remote working beyond the pandemic? Well, 70% of those surveyed predict that more businesses will choose to work from home, highlighting the value of technology that has increased the effectiveness of remote working.

Taking into account that the survey also showed that more than 2 in 5 (43%) business owners believe that having an office is an unnecessary business expense, the future of the workplace could look very different following Covid-19.

Despite the pandemic, the majority of surveyed Brits can’t deny the positive impact on their work-life balance

More than half (52%) of Brits have found an improved work-life balance since the pandemic hit.

From taking out the commute, and the ‘remote office’ now being based within homes, many workers have found that their working hours aren’t eating into their home life as much as prior to Covid-19. Further to this, the survey showed that 64% of Brits have been able to spend more time with their families since working from home during the coronavirus pandemic.

Looking at business owners, 3 in 5 (60%) believe working from home during Covid-19 has helped to improve their work-life balance, but this isn’t the case for every profession and job role. The number of manual workers who are able to work from home during this time haven’t felt as much of an improvement in their work-life balance, as only a third felt the same.

The varying impact of remote working on different generations

Whilst 3 in 10 (31%) respondents aged between 16-24 stated they have been less productive whilst working from during Covid-19, only 19% of professionals aged 55 and older have faced the same struggles. In fact, 2 in 5 (45%) respondents of this age group have felt more productive during this time.

The impact on productivity has also varied between company sizes, with 36% of respondents who work at medium size businesses believing that they’re more productive while working from home compared to 27% of respondents at small businesses.

Furthermore, 4 in 5 (79%) of respondents aged 55 and older think that the Covid-19 pandemic will change the future of work and how many businesses will opt to work remotely, compared to half (56%) of 16-24 year olds.

This result may be surprising to some, as some would argue that younger generations have had more exposure to flexible working in their lifetimes in comparison to older generations.

Chris Sees, CEO at Hoxton Mix, comments: “Whilst these are uncertain and unpredictable times, the results from this survey show us that we should expect the future of the workplace to change going forward in light of Covid-19, moving towards virtual or even home offices which will continue to have a positive impact on both businesses and employees”.

“Despite the serious challenges many businesses are facing right now, there have been glimmers of positivity at the same time, that this survey can highlight - for example, people being able to spend more time with family, an improved work-life balance and the potential for flexible working across more businesses, beyond when this pandemic ends”.

Methodology:

The research was conducted by Censuswide with 1,011 respondents who are working remotely from home due to lockdown between 07.05.20 – 11.05.20. Censuswide abide by and employ members of the Market Research Society which is based on the ESOMAR principles.

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