As lockdown ends or at least eases for many UK firms, research has found that businesses will have to start focusing their attention beyond simply surviving, as employees want a mix of remote and office-based working post-COVID-19.
The Coronavirus forced UK companies to quickly adapt to remote working. But now as employers are faced with the task of redeploying their staff, at least three-quarters (77%) of workers want a combination of office-based and remote working to be the new normal, according to research by the Adecco Group UK and Ireland.
Remote working and hybrid working
Soon after the UK went into lockdown, companies were embracing a variety of tech solutions to bridge the physical divide between its workforce. In just one day in April, Microsoft Teams video conferencing clocked up over 4.1bn meeting minutes, compared to the daily average of 900m that was seen in early March.
But while most UK employers believe that the best solution for future working post-COVID is a mixture of office and remote working, many worry that their employers’ view of what hybrid working should be is quite different to theirs.
Future of the UK workplace
The worldwide ‘Resetting Normal: Defining the New Era of Work’ study, surveyed 1,000 workers in the UK in conjunction with workers in the US, Italy, Japan, France, Germany and Spain. The aim was to understand what they want and expect the world of work to look like post-COVID-19. The study found that 79% believe their company should introduce more flexibility in how and where people can work. The research revealed universal support for flexible working, which according to Adecco, was confirmation that the world is ready for hybrid working.
But employees are worried that their organisations will expect them to work from their office at least two thirds (66%) of the time. However, they would prefer to have more of an equal split, working at home for 49% of the time and be in the office for 48% of the time.
Performance Vs Time
While the pandemic has prompted the UK workforce to reconsider where and how they want to work in the future, it’s also encouraged people to think whether the traditional 9-5 is still relevant. The survey found that 68% of UK employees think that set hour contracts don’t fit with modern ways of working and employers should review the length of the working week and the hours their staff are expected to work.
The survey revealed that 74% of employees think their contracts should be focused on meeting the needs of the job and not the hours worked. With this preference for businesses to be much more focused on performance instead of time, 85% of workers consider putting trust in staff to complete the work as the most important requirement from management.
The report from Adecco highlights we won’t be returning to the traditional working norms that we were once used to. The workplace has become much more of a fluid concept and now for the first time, businesses don’t see it as a physical space. But as this survey highlights, if employers want to be avoid being left behind, they have to approach their workforce in a new way which includes their job roles and where they do it.
HR and Health & Safety Support
For more articles relating to the effects of the current pandemic visit the HR Solutions’ dedicated page ‘Coronavirus Advice and Guidance for Employers’.
Download the HR Solutions Hybrid Working Policy, free HR template, which aims to improve an organisations efficiency whilst recognising that supporting a flexible working environment is an important factor in attracting and retaining employees.
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This article was first published on 7 July 2020 and updated and republished on June 2021.