Skip to content

Flexible working, hybrid working, office working, so many different types of working.

Imagine, if you can, a time when a virus shuts down the workplace as we know it, and businesses had to scramble to set up their teams to be able to work from home full time.

I know right, who could imagine a thing like that?!

Since the pandemic, businesses had to set up their teams to be able to work away from the office. At the height of coronavirus in the UK 46.4 % of the workforce (who could) were working from spare bedrooms, dining tables and laps across the nation.

Now, two years on from restrictions being fully lifted, it is estimated 38% of the workforce have become either completely remote or hybrid. But can that last?
Will businesses continue paying business rates for huge premises that are empty, will teams be able to grow and learn in the way they did pre-2020. According to Boots, no they can’t.

Retail Week recently shared that Boots has ordered all its head office staff to return to the office five days a week, starting from September 2024. Boots said it wanted to make offices a “normal place of work for everybody for the whole working week”.

So should we just accept this is how it is now, or try and hold on to the ‘new normal’?

The pros and cons

I thought at first it would be helpful to list out key pros and cons that could be the reasons for and against a remote team. Let’s start with some of the cons…

According to Forbes one argument against it is it’s a catalyst for burnout. They say when seeking the supposed balance that comes with remote work, many actually find that work intrudes upon family life, making the work-life balance even worse. Allocating space within your home environment to work and vice versa. This mental multitasking can negatively impact productivity and the ability to unwind, engaging with life at home.

Other arguments are remote working is bad for learning and morale. Summed up by Lord Alan Sugar who was quoted In HR Review as saying “You don’t learn sitting at home in your pyjamas. I think it’s bad for morale, bad for learning. I know I learned from being with other people in an office. I’m totally against it.”

Then of course there is the contentious argument that some people may struggle with self-discipline and motivation when working remotely. The absence of direct supervision can lead to a decrease in accountability, potentially affecting productivity and quality of work.

And now the pros…

As with all good pros, it can come from turning a con on its head. So, some may argue remote workers face challenges in terms of career advancement – they might have less visibility compared to their in-office counterparts.

However the Financial Times reported when businesses offer the agility hybrid working offers, it has seen a surge in women working full time especially in sectors like finance and insurance. More chance to be seen potentially?

And let’s talk about time. Hybrid or remote working offers a reduced commute time (clearly!) which can reduce stress, and the environmental impact.

There is also an increase in productivity. Home offers fewer office distractions (not that I would ever chat too much) and more control over the work schedule. People Management shared data that indicated 59% of people recorded said they had increased productivity when working from home, compared to a 34% in an office.

And so?

As with most things there are two sides to every story (not cooked mushrooms though, there is no good that has ever come from a cooked mushroom). Personally I would not want to work for a company that made me work in an office for five days a week. If I want to go in every day I can, but equally if I want to mix it up each week I can.

I also know for a fact I wouldn’t be able to do the job I do, in the way I do it, if I wasn’t in the office regularly. I know my team and I benefit from sitting in a room together, sharing ideas, laughing and firefighting. I really like the people I work with, we have a fab office and Pippin gets to come in when I need her too.

But seeing them all day in, day out – no thank you… 😉