As individuals and businesses of all sizes embrace remote working opportunities, the number of people working from home in the UK has swelled to an impressive 4.2million in the past decade. And this is a figure which looks likely to increase in time, given an additional 1.8million of us would like to work from the comfort of own home.
With 14% of the entire UK workforce now working from home, the question of whether it helps or hinders productivity has never been more pertinent.
The potential for workers to experience a better worklife balance, not to mention the savings for employers means a remote – and often freelance – workforce is becoming a very attractive option for thousands of businesses.
But how do workers themselves feel about it? Well, Work From Home Week, the organisation behind this research has revealed that 53% of workers feel they would be more productive if they were able to work from home – and without the need to attend unnecessary meetings in the office throughout the day.
In addition to this, Work From Home Week claim job satisfaction and happiness increases among remote workers, who are given the chance to take control of their days in a comfortable environment.
Giving freelancers and employees the freedom to work from home seemingly benefits businesses too, as workers avoid being exposed to office illnesses and lateness caused by the daily commute. It's estimated the UK will lose in the region of £300 billion by 2030 because of traffic congestion. Working from home eliminates this issue entirely, benefitting freelancers and employees, the companies they work with and the wider economy.
Conference calling specialists, Powwownow, echoed similar thoughts on the debate, revealing that 66% of workers get stressed out and flustered at least once a week by the commute. While Work From Home Week’s Founder, Adam Cox, called on companies of all sizes to embrace remote working should it be in a position to do so.
“Technology means that most of what needed to happen in an office can happen at home. While it won’t work for certain industries such as catering or building it certainly is viable for most office based sectors. We have found that productivity can actually increase significantly as employees are no longer experiencing the same level of distractions or interruptions.”
And it’s difficult to argue with the statistics. 70% of the people surveyed by Powwownow are more likely to want to work with a company offering remote working opportunities. That said, such flexibility is not perceived to be as important as salary, the research highlighted. Perhaps understandably, just 30% of workers would choose flexible working over a pay rise.
The rapid rise of remote working does require careful thought though. 56% of those surveyed would like to see businesses manage it better, which might involve upgrading existing IT infrastructure and training workers on how to truly reap its benefits.
Despite predictable but arguably solvable challenges, remote working looks to be an important component in the future of work, given that businesses and workers across the board are clearly experiencing its many advantages.
Are you more productive when working from home? Join the conversation…