Will the Higher Cost of Living End the Remote Working Trend?


The COVID-19 pandemic is recognised for prompting a major change in remote working practices which have been enjoyed by a vast number of workers for over two years, but with the escalating energy prices reaching crisis point, businesses are beginning to wonder whether the significant investment they have put into setting up collaborative working environments will cope, should cash-strapped employees return en masse to the office this winter.


Remote Working Benefits


The beneficial impacts of the remote working trend have been felt by individuals, businesses and wider communities. Individuals feel, on the whole, that they have achieved a better work-life balance by not having to commute every day. For some, the ability to work remotely has allowed them to move out of the city and to enjoy a more laid-back lifestyle.

Businesses have discovered that by creating collaborative working environments, promoting hot desking and sharing workspaces with other businesses, they have been able to reduce their rent, heating and electricity bills.

The reduced vehicle traffic at peak times has also helped with reducing carbon emissions which is a key government target.


Cost of Living Crisis


It would seem, therefore, that it would take something significant to back away from the hybrid working models that have become so popular over the last couple of years and to erode the benefits achieved, but it appears that the cost of living crisis may be the thing to do it.


There are two main reasons why this is the case:

1) Employees in poorly paid roles that they selected due to the ability to work flexibly will begin to look for better-paid work to cover their increased bills;

2) Those who are struggling with their energy bills will see a return to the office as more cost-effective than continuing to work from home.


This means that many businesses may face a recruitment challenge during an already challenging time, as many industries are still battling to recover from the 2021 Great Resignation and are holding a record number of vacancies. They also fear increased costs to accommodate staff back at the office, from increased use of heating, hot water and electricity or from having to make alterations to the office design to accommodate the higher footfall.


Potential Solutions


Businesses that are keen to maintain the status quo may need to think about ways in which they can encourage their loyal staff to continue their employment and their remote working practices. This could involve increasing their salaries in line with inflation or supplementing their income over the winter to allow them to work comfortably from home without worrying about their increased energy bills.

Businesses can employ policing technology to ensure that staff are working the appropriate number of hours should this be a concern and many individuals will likely see this as a fair compromise for increased financial compensation.

Alternatively, businesses who have sufficient accommodation to enable staff to return to work and wish to see more of their workforce back in the office could capitalise on this opportunity, promoting the benefits of office working, such as reduced home energy costs and the ability to meet face-to-face with colleagues again.


What Does The Future Hold?


It is clear that tech careers offer unlimited possibilities for staff at all levels, including in exciting and developing areas such as robotics. Many businesses that value their staff will find a way of easing the personal burden that they feel this winter. They are likely to employ different strategies that are appropriate to their particular circumstances and sensibly tailored to support their employees. This may mean better use of AI technology for home workers or making office-based working more attractive.


For those businesses who are struggling to fill vacancies this winter, Data Careers can help. We can support you in developing the right employment packages to attract talented individuals and support candidates in finding the businesses best suited to their career aspirations and preferred working practices.


Contact info:

Data Careers Ltd 2nd Floor Langton & Moat House Bird Street, Lichfield, Staffordshire WS13 6PY

0330 0977 809


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