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Remote working found to improve productivity

Productivity is a concern for many companies when it comes to remote working, but new research says they shouldn't worry.

One of the biggest concerns for businesses when it comes to remote working is productivity. There is a fear that allowing employees to work from home will mean they are more easily distracted and that they will get less work done. However, according to new research, it seems that these concerns are unfounded.

A survey by PowWowNow and Censuswide has found that during the recent lockdown that saw a huge number of people working remotely, 62% of decisionmakers have found that productivity has increased. On top of this, 72% now believe that they are able to adequately support their staff when working from home, following recent investments in technology.

These positive findings are also being reflected in the flexibility that businesses are planning on offering staff following the lifting of lockdown restrictions. Some 70% of decisionmakers now say that they will be offering greater flexibility to their workforce once their offices reopen, suggesting that productivity really isn’t the issue it is perceived by many as being when it comes to remote working.

The findings also highlight the fact that many workers across the UK have missed out on the benefits of flexible working, with 40% saying they are still not offered any form of flexible working under their company’s current policies. Despite flexible working being a growing trend even before lockdown, this figure has risen from 33% who weren’t offered this benefit last year.

Of those currently not offered flexible working, 67% wish that it were an option for their current role, showing that demand is there - even if it seems that the UK is going backwards in terms of offering it.

However, the recent pandemic and resulting shutdown of workplaces has shown many people what they have been missing out on. This has meant that more employees are planning on asking for flexible working arrangements to be considered. Around 13 million people in the UK will be asking their employers to consider adding flexible working as a benefit - with 8% planning on asking to work remotely full time.

It also seems as though companies who do not offer flexible working going forward may fail to retain or attract workers. LinkedIn found that lockdown saw job searches using terms like ‘remote working’ jumped by 60%, suggesting that people are now more likely to be looking for positions that allow flexibility. With PowWowNow’s research showing that remote working has a positive effect on productivity, this could mean companies lose talent and miss out on better performance.

Andrew Johnson, Managing Director of PowWowNow, said: “It is evident that flexible working does not negatively impact the productivity of a workforce, and actually not having to spend time commuting can improve the productivity of a team. Throughout the pandemic, businesses have invested heavily in technology to enable employees to work flexibly, and now they must continue to offer their workforce the chance to choose how they work; whether that’s from the office, remotely or flexibly, in order to reflect the growing demand for flexibility and to reap the benefits of their workforce living a well-balanced home and work life.”

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