How important has remote working become to you?

There have been reports that some people who started to work remotely from home during pandemic lockdowns want to continue to do so rather than return to the tedious commute to the office.

Some people are even saying that they would rather lose their jobs than be forced to return to the office.

They cite the improvement in work-life balance that had resulted from not having to commute and the flexibility and more time they have had with their families or on their hobbies.

Several large organisations, such as Facebook, J P Morgan and Google have already either delayed returns to office-based working or given employees the option of remaining remotely.

Others are offering what is called a hybrid solution, where people can spend some of their time working remotely and may only be required to come into the office for certain meetings or for a couple of days each week.

One UK-based recruitment and job search organisation has reported a 40% increase in searches for roles that offer remote options.

It may be that the current difficulties employers are having in recruiting suitably qualified people means that quitting a job where the employer is refusing to allow remote working is less risky than it might otherwise be.

Would you be prepared to leave your job if your employer cancelled all remote working?


In an era of remote working is it time to revise our working practices?

It has been clear for some time that many people forced to work remotely because of the pandemic have found that they prefer this and are reluctant to return to the office.

Employers, too, have realised that it not only reduces overheads but that it does not lead to a reduction in productivity.

But many people even working remotely have stuck to the traditional 9-5 pattern and now researchers at the leading business research and advisory company, Gartner, have looked at this way of working and are concluding that it is causing significant damage to employees, particularly causing an increase in fatigue.

They argue that “In today’s context, office-centric work is a square peg and the remote environment is a round hole.”

The formalised working day based on office hours, they argue, was established in the 1920s and is “unsuitable for the remote environment where we do not have concrete signals to start or end our workday”.

It also questions the need for meetings as the best way to collaborate, much of it no longer necessary, it argues, in an age of email, instant messaging and shared drives.

The researchers’ findings are to some extent supported by another piece of research reported by Wired which described various experiments based on the Scandinavian model.

While productivity improved among those businesses that tried a shorter, five-hour day, there were some downsides, generally in the area of losing something on the relationship level, in team culture and loyalty.