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Remote working, not so bad after all

Way back in mid-March, we gathered up our belongings, emptied our desks, and finally binned the banana that had been in our drawer for three weeks. Boris told us it was time to go home to protect ourselves, others, and our NHS from COVID-19. We were all off to WFH, and that’s “Work from Home” not “Week from Hell” but at the time it could have been either, let’s be honest. 


We set up home offices, scheduled in team catch-ups, and sorted out our new virtual social lives. Even Radio 1 got a new set-up and after a few bumps in the road, we were settled into our new WFH life. Every second post on LinkedIn was about the “new normal” and how the “new normal” is just the “normal” now, so does that make it the “new new normal”? Whatever. We get it. 


Although we will meet again, aspects of these enforced changes will be around for good. Some will stick around for safety reasons (can anyone actually believe we used to eat birthday cake that people had just blown over?!). And some will stay in place because it turns out they actually make our lives easier and we probably should have been doing them anyway to be honest.


Some used to be under the impression that WFH was a way to slack-off and hide from the bosses. Watching Homes Under the Hammer and moving your mouse around every now and then so your internal instant messenger still shows you as online. But those already used to working from home, already knew it was actually possible to do your job well outside of the office. And they were fed up of us all doing the air-quotation “working from home” thing when speaking to them. And don’t we all feel a little silly now? It is possible to actually work from a chair in your house instead of from a chair in the office! Who knew? 


But you know all this already (because it’s been quite hard to write, read or think about anything else). It’s a few months on now and we’re still standing, but, like our Elton, are we standing better than we ever did? The stats say we might just be! Let’s explore…


Stat Bombs


According to Technology Connected, when the pandemic began only 42% of businesses felt they were fully prepared for remote working. But thanks to technology, 94% have been able to adapt. Furthermore, 65% of businesses that have adopted remote working aren’t seeing a drop-off in productivity since the rise of the crisis. How’s that for stat bombs?! What another? Okay… Almost a fifth of those felt their staff had actually been more productive! MB (mind blown).


Given that there’s a global pandemic to worry about that might hinder productivity, those stats aren’t looking too shabby, are they? And on that note, to counter concerns around mental health, 10% are actively introducing mental health measures for staff whilst over half (52%) say this is something they’re looking to implement soon. WFH FTW (for the win)! 


So, we’ve proved we can WFH and still be FTD (fresh to death). But what about those who are looking for new jobs? Or those positions that are still needing to be filled? Well, it’s good news for them too! According to JobAdder, 43% of those asked are planning to start hiring again this year, 59% feel optimistic about recruitment for the rest of 2020 and 21% are now considering remote workers even after restrictions are lifted. Being able to hire remote workers blows open the pool of talent for your position, it’s basically endless when you don’t need someone to physically come into the office or worry about timezones, and we’ve now proven it works. 


In my opinion the shift in people’s thoughts on remote working is one of the best things to come from this situation. It’s going to open doors for employers, employees, and candidates. Even if we didn’t realise we had an issue before, or we were limiting ourselves, we’re now aware that maybe we weren’t doing things as well as we could have been and we weren’t utilising the technology we had available to offer greater flexibility for staff. And happy workers, happy life.