Retrospective: the working from home revolution

Recently, we took a peek back through our blog archives to see whether any of the business intelligence expectations that we covered, came true. 

In 2015 we wrote a blog about the potential for the growth of working from home (WFH) – which explored data from a Virgin Media Business Report that predicted that by 2022, 60% of office-based employees would be frequently staying home to work.

Little did we know then, that by 2020, we’d be facing a worldwide pandemic that would accelerate and compel many businesses and employees to quickly adapt to home working and hybrid working. 

So, did we see the number of those working from home match those figures predicted in 2015?

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said that the proportion of working adults who did any work from home in 2020 increased to 37% on average from 27% in 2019.

It showed that some staff were more likely to work from home than others, with workers living in London being the most likely to work from home. In stark contrast, home working was lowest in rural Scotland and the northern English towns, where fewer than 14% of employees said they had ever worked from home.

Interestingly, the ONS said the share of people doing their jobs remotely had fluctuated in line with government restrictions. In April 2020, 46.6% of employees reported that they were working from home falling to 27% in August as restrictions were relaxed, before rising sharply back to 47% in early February 2021 as the pandemic worsened.

Future practices

While we haven’t yet met the numbers of home working employees envisioned in 2015, changing attitudes to working, along with the influence of the pandemic, has had an impact on attitudes to home working. 

The CIPD’s Embedding new ways of working post-pandemic report show that some 40% of employers said they expect more than half their workforce to work regularly from home after the pandemic has ended.

And while some employees want to work from home all the time after the pandemic, most would prefer a balance where they are in the office for some of the week and at home for the remainder. This has led to the use of a relatively new term: hybrid working.

Is working from home and hybrid working important for the care sector?

The significant interest in more flexible forms of working, and hybrid working, have created new employee expectations and desires. Hybrid working helps employees to build a better work-life balance, have a greater ability to focus with fewer distractions, with more time for family and friends, and helps them save on commuting time and costs. And this could be a key for helping to solve the recruitment and retention issues that the care sector is facing.

How can care providers implement flexible working practices?

While it may be difficult for care providers to offer home care workers opportunities to work from home, there are many opportunities for them to employ procedures and strategies learnt from hybrid working models.

  • Determine which roles, if any, might be eligible for remote working
  • Hold virtual meetings instead of physical meetings when it is appropriate
  • Make use of asynchronous tools – like Slack and WhatsApp 
  • Provide virtual training experiences when it is possible
  • Invest in care management software solutions that can be used anywhere at anytime
  • Support staff with the right technology. If you’re ready to take the leap, download our handy guide!

In 2015, the idea of so many people working from home may have seemed to some, an optimistic yet ultimately idealistic fantasy. Yet, as we creep towards 2022, it looks like those predictions may come true.