With news of Pfizer’s vaccine being rolled out to care homes across the UK already, the promise of a return to the office seems more plausible than ever… But surely we have to ask, is that even what the people want anymore?
It seems that, for most of us working in the insurance sector at least, continuing some form of flexible working is the most welcome solution. Recent research from KPMG has shown that over half (53%) of us want to work remotely for part of the week once the pandemic passes. Though for almost a third (29%), these new ways of working have proved so popular that they want to do it full-time.
How likely is this to translate into what we see next year?
From the sounds of things, most employers are working towards ‘hybrid’ ways of working. This means remote working will look less like the occasional day at home to cater for a boiler check or dentist appointment, and will feature more heavily in the day-to-day.
For some, this might mean returning to the office in the spring will reveal a more open layout, with more shared spaces to encourage collaborative work (which will likely be the main function of the office). Others might see a total overhaul in ways of working, with meetings designed to take place virtually, cropping up alongside more creative sessions that demand a trip to the office. For the lucky few, the promise of permanent homeworking came very early on in the crisis – though whether they’ll want to take their employers up on that offer nine months later is up for debate.
The key thing to note here is that employers are working towards hybrid models because the workforce is completely divided over this. I can’t help but think back to the start of my career – in the not-so-distant past – and imagine how much more difficult it would have been to get a real sense of the office culture, or build lasting relationships, while working remotely. Whatever the answer is, it will need to come from a more people-led approach.
So, should I be packing up and moving to Ibiza where I can work in the sun?
Not quite (though if you go for it, please take me with you!).
There are a lot of things that firms are considering when it comes to their employee offerings, including how to cater for those who’ve taken this period as an opportunity to ditch Pret sandwiches and fighting for a seat on the Jubilee line for a warm slice of suburbia. KPMG’s research also found that 1 in 10 are considering relocating in the wake of the pandemic.
While it might not spell a sure move to a sunny European city, it does seem as though employers will be thinking much more about how to make the most of their regional or even international talent pool in the future. However, the most likely scenario is that working in a post-pandemic world will involve a much healthier mix of remote and office-based working.
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