When the pandemic happened and we were all locked down, it was widely assumed that once the threat of disease was removed, we would all quickly return to our original ways of life. However, when things finally did return to normal it became apparent that some sectors had adapted to working from home better than others.
We are now quite a way past lockdown and many shops, factories and service jobs have long returned to work. This only serves to highlight that certain office-based or telephone-based roles remain working from home and that they don’t seem to have any need to do anything else. And this isn’t a trend occurring only in the UK. In fact, a recent article by Forbes highlights that by the end of 2022, 25% of all professional jobs in North America are tipped to be remote. Before the pandemic, that was only 9%. There is a good chance this figure will continue to go up rather than down.
Here are some of the many reasons why remote work is likely to stay as a way of life for a long time to come:
A change in priorities
The main group of people that are working from home are young professionals. This group of people are becoming more oriented towards their own life goals. Even before the pandemic, they were searching for ways to improve their work-life balance and gain more control over their lives.
Remote working enhances the feeling of control over your life and can make it feel like you have more choice and flexibility. As such, remote or hybrid options are highly popular with the younger generation, with many seeking out this kind of job over a traditional one. This tells us that some employers are going to have to offer remote work to attract and retain young talent.
It cuts out a lot of unpleasant factors
Most people have always hated the daily commute. It’s overcrowded, stuffy, expensive, and often time-consuming. Public transport can run late or be cancelled, eating into the precious time you have at home.
Then there are the hidden costs of going into the office: the coffees you pick up en route, the lunch you grab from the local shop – the list is fairly endless.
For younger people who are often fighting a cost-of-living crisis on lower salaries, working from home can be particularly helpful.
Management is leading by example
Nowadays, more management personnel are working from home than ever before. It is harder for a manager who is rarely in the office to instruct the rest of his staff to come in to work, as it will breed resentment and accusations of a ‘them and us’ culture. Also, a key argument that many managers used to use when insisting that their workers came into the office was that they could monitor them. As they are no longer in the office themselves to do this monitoring, this argument is invalid.
Changes in career direction
Organisations are changing and becoming less hierarchical, more flexible, and with an increasingly relaxed atmosphere. Employees are no longer offered job security or career progression as a way of retaining them. Instead, employers offer things like flexible hours and remote working, as well as training, webinars, forums, courses, and other opportunities for personal development. It is then down to the employee to use these things wisely in order to earn their own progression up the career ladder.
Working from home can help with this personal development, as they can attend online training, webinars, courses and forums from the comfort of their own home and without a lot of the distractions that occur when they are in the office or physically attending learning programmes.