The number of roles advertised as ‘remote working’ in the UK jumped to almost 78,000 in February, a 233% increase on the same month in 2020.
That’s according to leadership and people solutions consultancy New Street Consulting Group, which found that 3.6% of roles advertised in February were listed as remote, up from pre-pandemic levels of just 0.8% and double the 1.8% of roles advertised as remote working in August 2020.
New Street Consulting Group said that there is now a divide emerging between businesses that are committing to remote work as part of their long-term model and those that are aiming to bring staff back to the office as soon as it is safe.
The news comes after the Prime Minister confirmed that England was on track to lift coronavirus restrictions next week as non-essential shops, hospitality and gyms were given the green light to re-open.
Last month, Nationwide told 13,000 of its staff they could “work anywhere” once the pandemic ends, allowing it to close three offices and consolidate staff at its headquarters. But Barclays group CEO Jes Staley has said he did not think working from home was sustainable and Goldman Sachs boss David Soloman described remote working as an “aberration”.
Natalie Douglass, director of talent strategy consulting at New Street, said that many workers appreciate being given the opportunity to work away from the office but fewer want to never visit their workplace.
“For businesses, the attractions of moving to remote working are often very clear – the reduction in property overheads can be substantial. But for some it may come at a cost to talent acquisition and retention.
“We’re expecting more businesses to experiment with hybrid models. The debate in this area moves so quickly that many employers are going to continue testing those hybrid models for many months before committing.”
New Street said that while working remotely has worked well for some staff, others have found it difficult to maintain productivity and motivation while working in isolation. The firm cautions businesses that moving to a fully remote working model may make it difficult for them to attract talent.
“What a lot of workers have discovered over the past year is that having the option to work remotely can be good but not having the option to go to the office at all can make a job much harder.
“Not all workers have a suitable environment in which to work at home and appreciate being able to go to the office, connect with colleagues face-to-face and get a break from their home life. Others working in creative, collaborative roles need to be working in the same physical space as their colleagues to increase their productivity.”