Should I honour remote working post-Covid-19?

As the coronavirus pandemic led to working from home on a national scale following direct instructions to do so as a result of the Covid-19 public health emergency, working remotely slowly transitioned into the new norm. As this rocked the boat of recruitment agencies worldwide, offering long-term home working and remote working opportunities became essential to help the industry remain buoyant. As we transition out of the third UK lockdown and remote working remains sternly in place, is this an expectation you should pay heed to post-Covid-19?

First and foremost, it is important to mention that remote working is not a new development in the world of work. The term was not recently penned; however, it was previously better known as ‘telecommuting’. This refers to the integration of technology to enable you to work from home without disruption, or at a location outside of the workplace, such as a café or remote working venue.

How is remote working changing the talent pool?

For jobseekers searching for an opportunity that offers flexible working arrangements, physical restrictions are often unheard of. Unaffected by location and travel time, remote working can often expand the number of job opportunities available to those searching for a job. A selected number may prefer to embrace this working style as it allows for uninterrupted working at a personally selected location. In addition to saving money otherwise spent on work travel, this also spares valuable time.  

For employers, loosening the job profile to allow for remote working can attract an entire pool of talent, which would otherwise go missed due to geographical restrictions. If the job can be realistically conducted remotely, employers may test the waters to reach skilled individuals residing anywhere across the country. By taking an unfiltered approach to recruitment, you can boost the number of incoming applications and afford to be selective during the process.  

Is remote working for everyone?

On the other hand, selected job applicants may prefer to work at a fixed office location to keep in physical touch with employees, the employer, and the workplace. By also offering the option to visit the office, if preferred, you may be able to attract parties straddling in the middle of both preferences.

As remote working removes the social aspects of uniting at one office location, it may not fit the boat for everyone. By slicing out your morning commute, and therefore the associated exercise and scenery, remote working may negatively impact a proportion of new starters. Offering the option to switch between the two can help employers attract attention towards posted job opportunities.

Where will remote working stand after the Covid-19 pandemic?

As working throughout the trio of coronavirus lockdowns presented employees with the opportunity to take advantage of alternative working environments outside of the office, the expectation, or a percentage of the flexibility posed by remote working is likely to remain fixed. Dependent on the sector and whether employee productivity is ranking at a high standard, employers may shift their expectations to pre-Covid-19 or enforce revised expectations through a formal contract review or an informal arrangement.

As only time can tell whether remote working and home working trends will follow, there is clear evidence indicating that employers hope to embrace this transition, either partially or fully, outside of the coronavirus pandemic, as already demonstrated by Amazon, Facebook and Microsoft.

Paul Williamson is managing director at Selling My Business. He has over 35 years’ experience in the trade of selling businesses and his specialisms lie in the commercial property market.