by Jonathan Munnery, Partner at UK Liquidators
As the coronavirus pandemic triggered working from home on a universal scale for businesses across the globe, the temporary arrangement soon transitioned into a norm as it became mandatory for all non-essential workers who could reasonably work from home to do so. This brought into question whether employers would revert to office working once the threat to public health diminished or if working from home would be formally implemented.
This period is being recorded in history as the largest work from home pilot of this scale, however, the situation is yet to be reported in its entirety as the threat of Covid-19 is yet to subside.
According to the Wales Institute of Social and Economic Research and Data, homeworking represented 4.7% of the British workforce in 2019, in comparison to 1.5% in 1981 when this working style was rare. As the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared Covid-19 a pandemic on 11 March 2020, the instruction to work-from-home resulted in this figure to skyrocketing to 43.1% in April 2020.
Let’s look at the impact of working from home for employers and employees, taking into consideration the likely stance post-Covid-19.
How does working from home benefit employees?
As many employees across the globe reach the 16-month mark for homeworking, this provides a reasonable timeframe to assess the effectiveness of this arrangement.
To facilitate the change in working style, employers adopted digital technology, such as Slack and Microsoft Teams to enable a seamless transition. Microsoft Teams reported having 13 million users in July 2019 which quickly escalated to 115 million in October 2020. Slack saw the number of paying customers hike from 88,000 in 2019 to 142,000 in Q3 2020 (July – September).
As businesses are investing more in communication platforms to effectively orchestrate work from home structures that are functional and effective, employers are rolling out long-term work from home arrangements to grant more autonomy for employees on deciding their preferred working style.
Working from home can establish a better work-life balance, including sparing more time for responsibilities outside of work. By carving out time originally allocated for morning commutes, employees can maintain a healthier state of mind, cut down on travel costs and reduce their carbon footprint. The environmental impact of working from home is large and can be numerically calculated by using a carbon footprint calculator based on annual emissions.
Switching the focus on employers, we run through the operational and financial advantages working from home poses to business owners.
How does working from home benefit employers?
A survey conducted by the Institute of Directors found that 74% of businesses intend to continue with increased home-working post-coronavirus and 43% of businesses had embraced greater use of flexible working such as compressed hours.
This paves the way for a progressive work culture that has the power to redefine employee expectations concerning flexible working. Covid-19 encouraged many businesses to operate in an agile manner and foster working practices to facilitate remote working and home working.
From a financial point of view, happier employees are less likely to leave their jobs which increases retention rates and the appeal to prospective employees. This style of working also generates substantial cost savings as the maintenance of office space is minimal. As a result, more businesses are offering working arrangements outside of the traditional 9-5 style of office working.
While many household brands such as Twitter and Google announced permanent working from home at the onset of the pandemic, more businesses are adopting a middle-ground approach by implementing hybrid working. This presents an opportunity for employees to switch been an office setting and working from home to balance collaborative team efforts and individual professional enrichment.
Jonathan Munnery, partner at UK Liquidators, is a highly reputable licensed insolvency practitioner trusted widely across the country by SMEs and start-ups. As a company rescue expert with years of experience under his belt, he is instrumental in leading the business community onto the road of Covid-19 recovery and supports business owners in financial difficulty.