Remote working may not be for everyone, but the pandemic has certainly shifted the way some of us will work for good.

Although, working from home was by no means a new thing, whether due to lockdowns, quarantines or self-isolations, the pandemic has accelerated this workplace experiment that had struggled to take off previously.

COVID-19 has broken down both the ‘cultural and technological barriers’ that limited us, allowing us to see clearly both the advantages and disadvantages of this new working norm.

In fact, a global McKinsey analysis of more than 2,000 activities in over 800 occupations identifies which have the greatest potential for remote work.

The analysis found that finance and insurance would have the biggest potential at 76%, followed by business services (62%) and information technology (58%).

According to McKinsey’s research, 26% of the UK’s workforce could work from home 3-5 days a week, 22% 1-2 days and 52% less than one day.

It also suggested that around 33% of UK work could be done remotely without loss of productivity. One of the highest of the nine countries analysed.

This report notes that this is occupation dependant, as certain occupations require activities that can’t be done from home at all or at least, not as efficently.

For example, the possibility for health professionals to work from home stands at just 11%.

Similarly, this will translate into other sectors like law. Although video conferences have been used as a replacement for hearings, this will probably be used only as a temporary fixture and resume its pre-pandemic structure to preserve legal proceedings.

Before the pandemic only 5-7% of the workforce in advanced economies regularly worked from home, expecting that this will shift anywhere between 15 to 20% post-pandemic, impacting urban economies for good.

So, with working from home not going anywhere anytime soon, further investments in digital infrastructure, the freeing up office space, and the structural transformation of cities, food services, real estate, retail and more will become apparent.

People commuting less or no longer travelling to different locations every day for work alone could have a significant economic impact, whether that be on fuel, services, or the demand for office space.

Another Mckinsey survey aimed at global corporate executives found that 38% of respondents expect their remote employees to work two or more days a week away from the office after the pandemic.

Compared to the previous figure which was said to be only at 22% pre-pandemic.

This anticipates that businesses will offer a hybrid remote working model, where employees will partly do both.

On this basis, companies need to find permanent ways to connect with employees in a digital space, including making permanent changes to their policies and processes to meet new needs.

For example, if onboarding were to be done remote permanently, it would require a significant system upgrade so businesses could achieve similar levels of success that were once achieved in person.

Would you consider working from home permanently? Is your business planning to invest in these new models?

 

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