Is Working from Home Dead?

Remote work has been around since the 1970’s but has become a hot topic over the last few years – particularly since most of the world found themselves stuck at home for a considerable amount of time in 2020. With working from home taking over during the pandemic, is it still influencing businesses today, or is WFH dead?

What is remote working? 

With remote work, the clue is in the name. It’s where employees work from another location other than an employer's office, meaning they’re working remotely which can be from home, a coffee shop, the train, or even on holiday. 

How common is working from home? 

According to a WISRED study, just 4.7% of UK employees worked from home in 2019 – just before the pandemic. If you compare that to a more recent study from ONS in 2023; 10% of UK employees work from home all the time, 29% work from home some of the time, and 10% have the option to work from home but don’t.  

In 2023, UK employees are working from home, or have the option to work from home, 44.3% more than in 2019. This difference highlights the impact that COVID-19 had on businesses and the way we work. 

Man working from home on a video call with a collegue

Hybrid working 

With 10% of employees permanently working from home in 2023, but 29% only working from home some of the time, this prompts the question of if the days working entirely from home are over, and if we’re moving into a hybrid working age?

Hybrid working is a more flexible way to work. It means that employees will split where they work, with them being able to work remotely (usually at home, but sometimes elsewhere), whilst also being required to work in the office some days.  

In 2022, ONS data shows that 13% of UK employees worked from home all of the time, with 25% working from home some of the time. We can see from this data that in the last year there has been a 3% decrease in the number of employees whose role allows them to only work from home, and a rise of 4% in those who work from home some of the time (hybrid working).  

These trends show that the hybrid working model is becoming more and more common in the UK, with many businesses now providing this as a perk of working for the company. 

What are the benefits of hybrid working? 

The main benefits that employees have reported for hybrid working are: 

  • Greater work-life balance 
  • Fewer distractions 
  • Less commuting time 

While these are great benefits on their own, they are also the same benefits found with employees who strictly work from home. So, what are the advantages for employees for getting back into the office? 

A study from Gallup shows that working in the office for 2-3 days a week boosts employee engagement and morale, while research from 2022 showed that hybrid working can offer employees a best-of-both-world experience by providing a greater work-life balance whilst still being able to maintain a strong bond and connection with colleagues.   

Are we moving away from remote work? 

It’s unlikely that working from home will ever completely die. Like everything else in the world, it will continue to evolve. 

The concept of working from home became the reality for many over the past few years, and it’s provided both employees and employers new ways to work. With remote work being the new normal up until recently, the drop in the number of people consistently working from home may have shocked people. However, we’re seeing more businesses start to move into a hybrid working structure, with a OnePoll survey suggesting that over 40% of UK companies have shifted to a hybrid model since the global pandemic. 

While the number of workers being fully remote looks as though it's decreasing, it will never completely disappear. As businesses look to keep up with modern technology and the future of the workforce with hybrid working, it’s important that employees do the same. 

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