The proportion of UK jobs advertised as “remote working” roles has more than quadrupled in the past year as the pandemic pushes employers to embrace working from home.
As of February, 3.6 per cent of roles were advertised as being remote, up from 0.8 per cent a year earlier — before the government told Britons to work from home where possible.
The number of remote working roles advertised more than trebled to 78,000, according to analysis by the New Street Consulting Group. It said that the roles generally involved remote working on a permanent basis and did not just reflect temporary arrangements while employers complied with government guidance for social distancing.
The proportion and number of remote-working roles advertised in the UK has increased steadily every month over the past year.
Natalie Douglass, from New Street Consulting, said: “For businesses, the attractions of moving to remote working are often very clear — the reduction in property overheads can be substantial.”
However, she added that “for some it may come at a cost to talent acquisition and retention”, as many employees wanted to retain the option of going into the office. She said: “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.”
Several large employers have indicated that they will move to hybrid or flexible working models permanently after the pandemic. Many more are reviewing their working arrangements and office spaces, in moves that have raised fears for the future of city centres.
Yesterday it was disclosed that IWG, the world’s biggest serviced offices company, had struck a deal to allow civil servants from the Department for Work and Pensions to work remotely at its premises around the country. Under the arrangement, first reported by The Daily Telegraph, IWG will provide ten private offices to department staff and employees will be able to access IWG’s network of flexible working spaces across Britain. The department and IWG declined to comment.
Mark Dixon, IWG’s boss, said last month that he could open serviced office centres in Cornwall, rural Wales and the Hebrides as more employees sought to work away from central corporate headquarters.
IWG has already struck deals with companies including Standard Chartered, Cisco, Salesforce and Staples to allow their workers to use its centres.
Other employers to commit to flexible working include PwC, which told its 22,000 UK employees that they could work remotely for two or three days a week, and BP, which has told at least 25,000 formerly office-based staff globally that they will be expected to work from home two days a week.