Research on stigma surrounding remote work is ongoing
LONDON, ENGLAND — It’s been a long time coming but the stigma surrounding remote work in the United Kingdom seems to be gradually decreasing.
This is likely in part due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, which saw most businesses shift to remote work as a safety precaution.
Now, even as the worst of the pandemic has passed and the related restrictions have mostly ended, most UK businesses are still operating on at least a hybrid basis.
Recent surveys have found that most workers across the UK are working remotely at least part of the time, while remote work remains the most popular job perk — even above a four-day workweek.
Further, with the shift in sentiment among the workforce — which is increasingly demanding at least some form of flexibility from employers, whether they are current employees or job seekers — comes a gradual acceptance from employers that employees are just as productive when they work from home, if not more so.
Of course, multiple studies have already indicated that employees tend to be twice as productive when they work remotely than they do when they work in physical offices.
But previous studies have also shown a disconnect between employers and employees in this regard. Namely, that employees tend to see the value of remote work more, and desire more remote hours as a result.
The fact that this disconnect is slowly, but surely, righting itself is good news for remote workers and remote job seekers.
Remote workers no longer shut off from job benefits
The UK Parliament, in a paper on the topic, noted that before the pandemic, remote workers were often overlooked when it came to promotions, training and other types of professional enrichment.
This, it suggested, was likely due to the stigma surrounding remote work at the time, and the false perception that remote workers were not as productive as their in-person counterparts.
“There are limited data to suggest whether this trend has continued throughout the pandemic, and it may change if a larger proportion of people work at home more frequently,” the paper read.
“However…researchers did a follow-up survey in 2021 with managers which found that in 2021, 57.4 per cent of managers sampled reported that flexible workers in their organisations were just as likely to be promoted as their peers, an increase from 2020.”
The percentage of remote workers who received access to training likewise increased as compared to before the pandemic, and negative sentiments about remote workers has decreased.
While conclusive studies on this topic are ongoing, the outlook is optimistic that remote work will become more of a norm even outside of pandemic-related emergencies in the future.
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UK Parliament paper on “The impact of remote and hybrid working on workers and organisations”