The COVID-19 pandemic forced us all to make drastic changes to the way that we work. Office spaces were deemed too dangerous and a clear catalyst for infections to spread, causing many of us to change our traditional working habits to a more virtual, remote style.
Hybrid and fully remote working existed before the pandemic however, understandably, the number of businesses operating in this new way has increased dramatically in the time since the first UK lockdown was announced back in March 2020.
The key statistics
A research briefing published by UK Parliament this month provides the latest analysis for the UK on the impact of remote and hybrid working on both workers and business. The briefing highlights that:
- The pandemic led to a substantial increase in remote and hybrid working culminating to about 49% of workers in June 2020 that worked at least one day from home.
- Of the 49% of UK workers working at least one day from home, 38% worked from home exclusively.
- As COVID-19 measures have lifted, the number of remote or hybrid workers have decreased but remain higher than pre pandemic levels.
- As of September 2022, more people (22% of UK workers) worked at least one day from home compared to those working from home exclusively (13%). Illustrating that more people are returning either to the office or a form of hybrid working.
Review of hybrid and distance working
A consultation administered by the Office of Tax Simplification (OTS) is being carried out in order to review emerging trends and tax implications of hybrid and distance working.
The OTS are concerned that following the pandemic, businesses may have adopted new permanent flexible working practices that now means there is no formal workspace or premises.
The consultation closes 28 October 2022, and you can contribute to the process here.
Impact on business
The research has found that organisations perceive both benefits and disadvantages to flexible working. It is recognised that it does increase staff wellbeing, reduce overhead costs, leads to productivity gains and reduces sickness absence.
However, it can lead to reduced mental wellbeing, difficulties in staff interactions and employee engagement. The full report can be found here.
If you are considering hybrid working for your business, or you have had employees making flexible working requests, our HR Document Shop has you covered.
Our HR Document Shop holds a variety of helpful templates and policies that can be easily adapted to suit your business. In particular, our Hybrid Working Policy and our Flexible Working Request Application are helpful if you are looking to explore hybrid or remote working, or wish to update your policies.