In April 2020, the UK’s Office for National Statistics released a report showing that as many as 49.2% of all employees are working completely from home as a result of the quarantine and social distancing measures.
To see how remote work perception and adoption have changed in the UK since the Coronavirus outbreak and to look into a crystal ball for future trends of working, we’ve collated the most recent and reliable remote working data from the official government statistics, census data and independent studies.
As a result of thorough data analysis, we’ve put together this Definitive Guide to Remote Working to help you better navigate the current work-from-home landscape in the UK.
The UK’s Remote Working Landscape (as of Q2 2020)
According to a recent survey by MerchantSavvy.co.uk, 69% of businesses have implemented flexible workplace policies encouraging work from home or limited office hours, and 73% consider flexible working to be the “new normal”.
Remote Work Advantages Reported By Employees
When asked about the biggest advantages of teleworking, 70% of people aged 30-44 and 73% of employees aged 45-59 answered with “having the choice to take better control of our work-life balance“, 39% of people aged 16-29 pointed to “reduced stress of commute into the office” and 38% of the same group mentioned “having more time to exercise or enjoy hobbies“.
Regardless of the age groups, in general, Top 5 reasons people love working remotely are:
- Better work-life balance: 91%
- Improve productivity: 79%
- Avoid commuting: 78%
- Less stressful: 78%
- Saving money: 76%
Now when around 60% of the UK’s population is embracing work from home, 9 in 10 (89%) believe this is reducing their expenditure.
The average remote worker is currently saving £44.78 every week by not having to commute to work and buy lunch every day.
Londoners are saving the most cash thanks to teleworking, at an average of £57.78 per week, which possibly reflects the capital’s high commuting costs.
On a global scale, people mention the following benefits of working remotely:
- Ability to have a flexible schedule: 32%
- Flexibility to work from anywhere: 26%
- Not having to commute: 21%
- Ability to spent time with family and friends: 11%
- Ability to work home: 7%
A survey of 6,604 knowledge workers in companies with 500+ employees asked participants what they would give for greater work flexibility. They’ve obtained the following results:
- 54% of UK employees said they’d move to another company that offers remote working,
- 40% would take on a greater workload,
- 31% would be OK to pay for their own technology,
- 24% would give up company benefits and perks, and
- 18% would even agree to have a pay cut.
In general, employers are keeping up with their employee expectations: 84% of UK businesses are now using flexible workspace policies to attract and retain top talent. It’s one of the highest rates globally. This matches employee demands: 70% of UK employees say that offering flexible/remote working makes a job more attractive to them.
By not allowing teleworking, companies deprive themselves of access to the more diverse and creative workforce.
Remote Work Impact On Employee Productivity
Remote teams have a productivity rating of 7.7 out of 10, while on-premise teams have a lower rating of 6.5 out of 10.
Almost half (45%) of workers expect to work more flexibly after lockdown restrictions on UK businesses are lifted, according to the survey conducted by O2, ICM, and YouGov.
A third of respondents (33%) expect to work from home at least three days a week after lockdown, and 81% expect to work remotely at least one day a week going forward.
The vast majority of employers in the UK– 98%–said they were regularly communicating with staff to keep them updated and engaged, while 86% said they had put in place measures to ensure workers felt supported by their manager or fellow team members.
According to Finder.com, 67% of UK employers report increased productivity for remote workers compared to their in-office colleagues.
COVID-19 Pulse Survey Report has found that of almost 1,000 employers, only 15% said remote working had impacted their employee productivity negatively, while 27% admitted a small negative impact.
Anyway, it will take some time for employers to fully evaluate whether productivity in their organisation has gone up or down following the lockdown because they will need to take a forensic look at any data at their fingertips to track productivity.
Remote working challenges
The survey by O2, ICM, and YouGov has found that 30% of UK employees believed WFH could be lonely, and 26% admitted missing informal socialising with colleagues in the office.
The survey by Moneypenny has come up with even a more thought-provoking finding:
72% of staff said they have experienced a day when they did not speak to any colleagues.
So yes, loneliness is one of the main negative factors related to working from home.
Another survey of 25,234 people across 12 countries including the UK has found that 62% of remote workers want their employers to provide better technology that helps them stay connected with their colleagues.
Worryingly, 53% of participants of the Moneypenny survey said they did not receive any support from their company to help and set them up to work at home. Only 26% said their employers had supplied them with all they needed to work efficiently remotely.
These findings can be attributed to the fact that many employers were caught off guard and completely unprepared to embrace a teleworking environment.
At Evolve, we have more than 10 years' experience with building remote and distributed teams for clients across different sectors. We invite you to leverage our existing infrastructure and pool of resources for cost-effective remote software development. Sounds interesting? Send us a request or call: 116 298 7460!
IT Hiring Landscape in the UK (as of Q2 2020)
After years of sustained job demand and salary growth across the UK’s technology sector, the severe impact of the global COVID-19 pandemic started to show in the spring of 2020. IT job openings have plummeted by 56.5% month-on-month in April, according to CV-Library. Year-on-year, the IT vacancies volume is down by almost 60%.
Glassdoor data shows that between 1 March and 27 April 2020, IT job openings in the UK have dropped by 43%.
As demand for remote systems and solutions rises in response to government-mandated lockdown, tech companies in the UK will continue to hire talent during the pandemic, according to CIO.com.
The most in-demand professionals today are software engineers, IT auditors, cybersecurity and data analytics experts, and enterprise architects.
However, many tech projects are currently suspended or shut down because companies don’t have available resources to keep the ball rolling.
More than 800,000 UK companies have temporarily axed 6.3 million jobs in response to the crisis as part of the government’s voluntary furlough scheme. As a result, they hibernate, which poses a serious risk for their entire business continuity.
Did you have to suspend your software project because of furloughed staff and lack or high cost of local resources? We can help you avoid business hibernation and keep building your product with a small budget. Get in touch now!
Tech Talent Shortage Remains a Big Issue During the Corona Crisis
According to a new report commissioned by The Open University, 91% of UK organisations have struggled to find workers with the right tech skills over the past 12 months.
The survey has also found that 61% of UK business leaders confirm that the skills shortage has deteriorated over the past years. It costs companies a boatload of money to find, hire, and retain the right IT skills to remain productive:
The shortfall of talent is now costing UK businesses £6.33 billion a year in recruitment fees, inflated salaries, temporary staff, and training for workers hired at a lower level than intended.
The results further suggest that:
- 73% of UK employers have experienced difficulty in hiring for tech roles in the past 12 months, which makes it hard to navigate change smoothly;
- 53% believe the situation with IT hiring will worsen during 2020;
- 47% of companies are not as agile as they need to be to stay competitive due to the lack of tech skills, while the current business climate requires a very high level of adaptability and flexibility;
- 44% of organisations are planning to struggle financially during 2020, which will have a negative impact on their hiring processes.
Harvard Business Review points out that the need to virtualize work due to COVID-19 is driving digital transformation and deepening differences across people and across companies at an incredible rate.
As the stakes for digital transformation have increased dramatically, firms that cannot change overnight will be left way behind, exposing their employees to an increased risk of financial and physical distress.
While businesses and the government have yet to find ways to work together on programs that will help widen and sustain the national pool of tech talent and close the gap, UK companies, big and small, can still maintain business continuity without overblowing their budgets.
We'll be keeping this Guide updated as more research data is out! Stay tuned with Evolve!