In the 1980’s only 1.5% of employees in the UK worked remotely. By 2016, this had risen to 9% (despite the 2014 UK legislation making it easier for all workers to negotiate a more flexible working practice).
In many ways, this ‘social experiment’ resulted in a number of businesses and workers acknowledging that technology makes it possible to conduct business in a more remote way and fast-tracked the trend towards greater flexibility around work. It has also forever shifted how we engage with technology for work.
Research is still catching up with how remote and hybrid work will impact us as individuals and as a collective. But, we do know that the norms around technology use for work has shifted dramatically over the past 18 months and will continue to shift while we all adjust (again) to another way-of-working.
A few things we need to be more cognisant of (as we enter this new phase) is:
– We are all a lot more proficient in our IT use since March 2020
– We have shifted our behaviour around how we use technology and how we communicate with others
– New office cultures and expectations of others communication via technology is going to continue to shift going forward, we need to be adaptable and open to this
– Businesses may need to do more to help employees separate out work and home spaces – to ensure all employees have enough mental, emotional and physical recovery time from work and tech-based work tethering.
Remote and hybrid working will require different management and leadership skills for remote teams (or a mixed office-remote team approach), greater challenges in new staff inductions and new ways to encourage team building over time.
One thing remote workers will need to become better at, is finding the right balance between when to engage with work activities and when to engage with home activities outside of ‘normal’ office hours.