What’s next for remote working?

The pandemic has meant that many businesses have been forced to adopt different working models, largely in the form of home working. The work from home versus productivity debate was very controversial pre-Covid with many business owners unsure whether working from home arrangements could sustain (if not improve) employee performance.

Fast forward almost a year since the first UK lockdown, the benefits and restrictions of home working is apparent. Whilst, I imagine, many prefer working from home, the sense of community and belonging brought about by the office is missed. Now that the vaccine rollout has gathered significant pace in the UK, the question looms: To what extent will remote work persist? With the virus outbreak shattering culture and technology barriers that had once prevented flexible working historical, upon which pillars will business owners and leaders build the next working model?

The Mckinsey article on What’s next for remote work: An analysis of 2,000 tasks, 800 jobs, and nine countries provides some useful insight into this very topic. I have highlighted a few points that may interest you.

  • The potential for remote work is highly concentrated among highly skilled, highly educated workers in a handful of industries, occupations, and geographies, the article concluding that employees working in finance, management, professional service and information sector having the highest potential for working from home arrangements.
  • A hybrid model that combines some remote work with work in an office is possible for occupations with high remote work potential. The McKinsey survey suggests that in the U.S. more than 20 percent of the workforce could work remotely three to five days a week as effectively as they could if working from an office. The ability to work remote is determined by tasks and activities, not occupations. Activities with the highest potential for remote work include updating knowledge and interacting with computers with many tasks involving person interaction better in person.
  • Hybrid remote work has important implications for urban economies. More people working remotely means fewer people commuting between home and work every day with money typically spent on transportation, restaurants and daily consumables more likely to be invested closer to home.

At Polestar, we have noticed that our productivity has remained largely the same in the last twelve months, however, we are all in agreement that we miss the daily interaction with colleagues and clients. Despite the advancements of technology that has allowed us to work remotely these past few months, we for one cannot wait to get back into the office. We are keen to hear your thoughts on this and how you plan to adapt to the new normal post the UK vaccination roll-out. Please do get in touch.

The virus has broken through cultural and technological barriers that prevented remote work in the past, setting in motion a structural shift in where work takes place, at least for some people.

By Bhavik Borkhatria on 28/01/2021