Human Resources, News

Remote Working and the Future of Offices

Remote Working and UK Business

This article covers remote working and the future of work. We have been writing and rewriting more policies around remote working for our clients – specifically around communication, IT Security, lone working, expenses and so forth and it’s made us think about the types of policies we will be writing in the future. We believe that ongoing evaluation of the benefits of remote and virtual working is essential to any forward-thinking business and consider the broad subject matter of technology and ways of working for optimum output and staff job satisfaction to be crucial not just to individual organisations, but also to the economy. As new and enhanced technology is available, it has the potential to change ways of working for remote staff in the future, but very few companies are considering where they will be in the future.

Where We Are

At the time of writing, the future of UK-based businesses, particularly SMEs working from office locations is precarious. Several factors are contributing to an inevitable shift in people’s perceptions of having to commute to a location to effectively do the same work they could do anywhere in the world as well as the operational costs to manage an office.

Post-Pandemic Cultural Shift

Based on a report from RADA, most staff prefer remote working (80% say that they want the option to work from home, even if it’s only an occasional arrangement based on 3000 polled) and almost all of the office-based companies we write policies for have now adopted a hybrid model. The major reported benefits of homeworking were saving time (58%), saving money (54%), more flexibility (50%) and more time with family (42%).  The commute to work fits into two of these benefits and has been reported to be the most important benefit of remote working. Job adverts with remote working get more interest and NSCG analysis of national job adverts shows that the number of remote working roles advertised in 2022 has grown by 28% and remote working is seen as part of a jobs benefits package. Measuring and optimising efficiency gains/losses from adopting remote working is straightforward whatever the organisation type – with many sophisticated tracking and measurement tools available. Of course, forward-thinking companies measure performance and capability on output rather than hours worked, so agile working practices can fold into the model, whatever the business type. The negative points of remote working were reports of loneliness and isolation, technical issues, not having suitable premises, interruptions, etc. Blue chip sectors with rigid hierarchies were particularly keen to get staff back into the office when the lockdown was lifted. Cynics might say remote working didn’t afford bosses the same level of control over their staff and can highlight where management roles are not necessary. What’s missing from these reports is that a lot of people just work better alone and prefer to be at arm’s length from their co-workers, the day-to-day interruptions and instead focus on output. For a deeper dive into studies on remote working, we recommend this excellent article from Chicago Booth.

Energy Crisis

With the looming Energy Crisis, small businesses are already closing due to electricity and gas costs. If energy costs to businesses quadruple to around 80p per kilowatt-hour soon, the need to decrease operational costs will be enhanced as the need for office space is minimised.

Fuel Costs

Running cars, buying train tickets and other forms of transportation that use fossil fuels costs continue to increase. Add this together with the fact that people prefer working remotely primarily because they avoid a commute, and it makes for a compelling case to minimise the amount of time spent travelling.

Better Technology

Unified business applications continue to get updated and full fibre/satellite internet is prevalent in almost all of the UK now. Cloud-based systems are used by every company or organisation we have worked with, and hardware costs remain low enough to warrant moving from desktop systems to laptops.

The Economic Knock-on Effects of Remote Working

If in the future, the majority of companies adopt full remote or virtual working, some potential knock-on effects could be:

  • Reduction in office building value.
  • Increased building insurance premiums.
  • Increase in fuel and travel prices.
  • Closing of office service businesses.
  • Degeneration of food and drink businesses local to offices.
  • Job losses at all affected services.

The Metaverse and Virtual Working

The metaverse has some potential to be a virtual working space in the future. However, experiments that companies have conducted by attempting to get their workforce in virtual worlds have not been overly successful as yet. Add to this the fact that most metaverse worlds have not fully opened at the time of writing and at this time it’s still a very unexplored space. We do believe that having virtual spaces to showcase products and services, meet clients and so forth has great potential and have invested into metaverse land ourselves for this end as have big names such as Adidas, Forever 21, Honda, JPMorgan, Vice Media, Samsung to name just a few.

How We Can Help

If you are looking for policies and procedures around remote working to be written or updated, please drop us a line below.


Office: 01244 342 618

Mobile Numbers

Joanne: 07764 258 001
Shaun:   07908 688 170