The number of jobs advertised as a home working role more than trebled in 12 months, with indications that businesses are cutting office space and allowing staff to work remotely in the longer term.
According to analysis of Emsi figures by leadership and people solutions consultancy New Street Consulting, the number of jobs advertised as remote working opportunities increased by 203% to 80,700 in November 2020, from 26,600 in November 2019.
Natalie Douglass, director of talent strategy consulting at New Street Consulting Group, said: “Businesses are now deciding how many of their staff they are going to bring back into the office once this crisis is finally over and how many can stay remote.
“Most businesses take the view that staff and tasks are better off in an office environment where close team working, collaboration and mentoring can more easily take place. However, we are certainly going to see a more hybrid workforce with working from home an option for at least some of their staff.”
Numerous businesses including Facebook, Hitachi, Unilever and Lloyds Banking Group have announced plans to make home working a standard practice in the longer term for many of their employees.
However, there are fears that widespread permanent remote working will turn business districts and town and city centres into “ghost towns”, while a recent KPMG report suggested the loss of commuters could cost up to 400,000 retail jobs.
Douglass said:“Feedback we get is that many staff have missed interacting with their colleagues, that the experience of working from home has been isolating. Obviously not everyone has a space that they can easily work from. Employers who want to get this decision right will need to look at all the issues closely.
“There has been a trend in recent years to invest more in the workplace, to make it somewhere where staff would want to spend time. It will be quite a revolution if that trend doesn’t eventually reassert itself.”
Last year, a study found recruiters were 20% more likely to list flexible working options when prompted to do so when posting a job on Indeed, and their adverts attracted 30% more applications than those that did not mention flexible working.