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Flexible working has been a hot topic for the past year. Numerous employees throughout the UK have had to work from home due to the pandemic. It’s been a seismic shift in our working culture, and there have been many lively discussions from employers and employees alike on the pros and cons of this new mode of working.
When news of the first national lockdown hit, it was a huge adjustment for many. Juggling working from home and keeping up any kid’s education was a struggle for many families. But there was a lot to be said about the additional time we had at home to spend how we wanted. For people who typically spent considerable time commuting or doing overtime in the office, it was the silver lining of the lockdown.
Now that we’re in 2021, we’ve set up spaces to work from and are managing the work-life balance better. It feels more familiar working from home. So it’s perhaps little surprise that 44% of workers plan to ask for permanent flexible working arrangements after coronavirus restrictions are fully lifted. That’s more than 13 million people in the UK.
And there’s good news too! HR directors say that companies are already preparing to receive significant volumes of flexible working requests:
- 43% of HR directors say they will offer some employees the option to work from home five days a week.
- 20% will offer employees the chance to work from home three or four days a week.
After all, there are benefits for businesses too, as office space is a significant cost for most companies. Lockdown has also proved to any doubtful bosses that flexible working can work. It’s the reason 28% of those surveyed are hoping for long-term flexible working requests to be accepted. They’ve shown they can do it already.
The future of work
If this research is anything to go by, then there’s clearly significant intent for some form of flexible work in the future. Even if they don’t want to work from home full time, and appreciate the socialisation to be found in the office, it’s clear that many workers would like to retain the choice to work flexibly – at least for part of the week. With family life and their own physical and mental wellbeing to take care of, it’s easy to see why the option to work from home some of the time is attractive for many workers.
Geoffrey Aldis is a freelance content producer and researcher from Plymouth. Apart from his projects, he also attends different conferences and events on business marketing, SMEs, sustainability, labor, and ethical standards.