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Is Remote Working Bad for Business?

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Rob Ford Head of Thorn Baker ConstructionWorking from home as a Recruiter didn't seem possible pre-COVID-19. Businesses have embraced the change and are now finding that they can work this way - but is it best business and employees? In this blog, I’d like to share with you what we've found both positive and challenging working remotely and how our future way of working is looking.

Rob Ford, Head of Thorn Baker Construction

As a team we're all starting to head back into the office - this is a mix of full-time, part-time and even one day a week, all combined with remote working. Are you finding your staff don't want to go back to office life? Have they taken the opportunity to work more from home, or perhaps for your business it's key for them to be in the office? (COVID-19 safely of course).

We recently conducted a survey of our own staff to find out how they were doing during lockdown. How were they coping with working from home, did they prefer it? What had they found challenging, what did they like? Of course, these conversations can be had with someone’s Manager at any time but a survey does allow time to reflect before commenting.

Our results were interesting and have definitely given us a lot to think about regarding what our ‘new normal’ will look like.

Some highlights from the survey include;

  • 91% of people said that they had minimal interruptions that didn’t materially affect their ability to work from home
  • 90% of people said that whilst lockdown remains as it is they would like the option to continue working from home as much as possible
  • 84% of people said that post lockdown they would still like the flexibility to work from home regularly

Thorn Baker Construction_Is Remote Working Bad for Business?

Positives they had found working from home:

  • No commute/travel time to and from work
  • Better work/life balance
  • More productive at home
  • Less distractions/interruptions
  • Flexibility to deal with childcare issues



But is remote working bad for business?

Three of the main issues to come from remote working are:

  1. Communication issues
  2. Distractions
  3. Loneliness/ Isolation

A recent article from Executive Grapevine has said that communication between colleagues has suffered in some business as people are now working different schedules to accommodate their new working from home life. These distractions come from simply answering the door, moving cats from their laptops to dealing with a lack of childcare. And the other aspect is 'cabin fever' - feeling like you need to get out and see something other than your own home is a very real feeling for some people and can be a big distraction when working from home.

Has COVID-19 has really only expedited what was already on the horizon?

It’s important to look at how we work currently in terms of offices and remember that ‘cubicle style’ offices have only been around since the ’80s. And even before Covid-19, this style of work was already being questioned and its future wasn’t too bright.

In September 2019 The HR Director wrote an article stating that ‘According to the 1999 Labour Force Survey conducted by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), the percentage of people working flexible hours in the UK was 9.5% at that time. Recent statistics from CIPD, however, show that this number has drastically increased, with 54% of workers currently having the option to operate outside of typical nine-to-five office hours.’


We'd like to get your feedback and to share ideas, best practices, and general feedback on how you're finding the 'new normal'. What did you as a business see as scary but you’re now embracing? Do you have positives that you can share? Contact the team today, we'd love to get your feedback.