In recent times, advances in technology have helped to make it easier than ever to work at home. Overcoming previous obstacles such as distance from colleagues and the limitations of home computing, it seems that millions of us now have the necessary tools to make remote working a possibility, but are work place attitudes keeping up with the technology?
In 2012, we undertook a remote working survey, asking workers across the UK about their opinions of all things remote working, revealing that a significant number were positive about it. This year, we decided to ask the same questions to find out whether things have changed, gauging how many businesses and individuals have decided to take advantage of the opportunity to work from home.
Interestingly, there was a big difference in the number of businesses willing to allow their employees to work remotely. The original survey found that the most popular advantage cited about working from home was being able to choose working hours, something 59% of participants chose. This year, the majority – 46% of people – said that the main benefit of remote working was that it helped to reduce office costs, which has been a hot-button issue for some time.
Another interesting finding from this year’s survey was pretty upbeat. A huge 76% of those who work remotely said that members of their managerial team were available within flexible working hours. This suggests that people in more senior positions are wising up to the benefits of working from home, allowing for more work to be done within a reasonable timeframe.
A further issue discussed were the savings made on travelling when working home. The average weekly spend on meetings stood at an eye-watering £53, adding up to £2,756 per year, while weekly time spend on travel is close to six hours per person. Not having to commute was often cited as a major benefit, especially by workers in London (23%) and Yorkshire and the Humber (22%).
Traffic congestion in Leeds/Bradford and Greater London is among the heaviest in Europe. If you live in either area, perhaps remote working will help save you from the ordeal that is the daily commute! In time, this could drive more and more of us away from the usual nine-to-five shift, especially as communication technology continues to become easier and better to use.