Shift to remote or hybrid work environments

Carly Woodland Manager

Pinkham Blair Conversational Accountants Herts Beds Bucks London

The pandemic forced businesses to close their offices temporarily and they had to quickly change their method of working. Prior to this most employers would expect their staff to work in the office every day.

The new way of working for many businesses seems to be a hybrid approach where staff tend to go into the office 2 or 3 days a week and work the remaining days at home.

A study by the UK Parliament published in October 2022 on ‘The impact of remote and hybrid working on workers and organisations’ showed that before the pandemic 1 in 10 employees worked from home at least one day a week and since the pandemic this is 1 in 5 employees. This is a significant change in the type of work environment employers are offering their employees in a shift towards employees working at home more frequently.

This way of working brings many benefits to employees:

  • Time saving: Employees save time on their commute to work. This eradicates the stress of sitting in traffic and promotes a healthier work life balance. Employees are also more likely to work additional hours to their contracted work times as they aren’t watching the clock towards the end of the day if they need to make sure they leave on time.
  • Money saving: Costs are reduced for employees as they save their travel costs such as fuel, train, and bus fares. Employers also save electricity and water costs where their employees are in the office less.
  • Flexibility: Employees can work in different locations and have flexibility with their hours as they are able to log on at any time of the day. This can be extremely beneficial for employees who have children or care for family as it enables them to do additional work around these responsibilities that previously they wouldn’t have been able to do. Hybrid or remote working also helps to enable people to work the hours they are most productive as some people work best early in the morning whereas some people work better in the evening.
  • Work-life balance: Working from home enables people to find a better balance as they can fit in things like personal appointments in their lunch break if they are working from home. This results in less stress for employees as they can manage their life outside of work a little more easily.
  • Increased productivity: Employees can get on with their work easily without distractions at the office.

There must be an element of trust from employers as it is harder to monitor what their employees are doing at home. This will be apparent in the output of work, and if work isn’t being done or is being done at a slower rate this may indicate time spent working at home isn’t being used productively. Employers can use apps such as Microsoft Teams where employees appear online to help keep track that employees are working at home.

If there are technical issues when employees are working at home such as the internet going down this can cause problems with being able to work. It is also important that the business that employees work from remotely has a reliable IT infrastructure to support its employees to be able to work remotely and do their job easily.

It can also negatively impact people’s mental health if they are working alone at home a lot as they don’t get to experience the social aspects of going to the office and interacting with their colleagues. Many employers will require their team to all attend the office on certain days of the week or month. This means colleagues can interact, collaborate and enhance the working relationships they have.

At Pinkham Blair we follow a hybrid model. Staff generally go to the office 2 days of the week and the office usually has one partner, one manager and one team member each day. We also have a daily team meeting via Zoom so we can all catch up and find out what everyone in the team is doing that day. This seems to be working well and I think the whole team enjoys the benefits outlined above that result from being able to work from home on some days of the week.

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