The working landscape has changed irrevocably in the last three years, as a global crisis spurred innovation and a sea change in the way companies operate. The coronavirus pandemic was a difficult time for many, but its challenges hastened the adoption of new working provisions and strategies – with real impacts on the work/life balance of the average worker in the UK.
The leading change to the modern workplace came in the form of remote working capabilities. Businesses sought to equip workers with the software and devices necessary to enable a ‘telecommute’ when gatherings and non-essential travel were restricted. The pace of development and adoption of remote communication and cloud collaboration software was swift and demonstrated well the ability of a workforce to provide value wherever they were based.
In 2022 and beyond, these new working provisions are here to stay, in the form of increased remote-working roles and hybrid working agreements in a majority of businesses. This is nothing short of a sea change in the world of employment – but what are the exact impacts this new epoch of work can have on the individual’s work/life balance?
Losing the Commute
The first and most tangible impact the new ubiquity of remote and hybrid working agreements has had relates to the daily work commute. With regard to full-time remote workers, the removal of the commute is estimated to return a national average of an hour a day to workers.
This statistic, outlined by poster designers, instantprint in a recent report on home working scales up to over nine days out of the working year. In the same report, instantprint sought to find out what workers were doing with the time they were saving by not having to commute. A survey of 1000 UK remote workers found that over a quarter of respondents used their time to read – with just under a quarter using that time to relax in front of the television.
Shifts in Work/Life Balance
This tangible increase in available free time is one of the largest reasons for a perceived improvement to work/life balance amongst remote working employees in the UK; having more time to indulge personal interests or to relax before the working day has allowed workers to better engage with their relationship to work, and better manage their time in a stress-free manner. Indeed, the instantprint survey found that 15% of respondents were able to perfect their work/life balance through time saved working from home.
While the increase in free time at home is an overwhelming benefit for employees, there have also been some establishment concerns. Employers were briefly worried that home working agreements would breed poor productivity.
However, nothing could be further from the truth. Not only did the instantprint survey find that more than half of remote workers put more time into their work from home, but the London School of Economics found productivity to be tangibly boosted by remote working.
Have you experienced a shift in your working situation since the pandemic? How, if at all, has a hybrid or remote working contract changed your approach to your working life? Be sure to share your experience in the comments below.