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On the Rise of Remote Working

Automattic recently announced that they’re closing their sprawling 15,000 square foot San Francisco office. The converted warehouse contains a library, open plan working structure and state of the art facilities throughout – sounds idyllic, right? Except it’s being closed because nobody uses it. And why is that? Because of remote working.

Automattic CEO, Matt Mullenweg, has always championed remote working and gives the company’s 550 employees full control over where they work. The San Francisco office served as one option, but employees are free to use other co-working spaces, their own homes, or even their local Starbucks, in which case Automattic will foot their coffee bill.

There has been plenty of research into whether or not remote working boosts productivity and happiness, and the results overwhelmingly suggest that, yes, remote working can make your employees happier and more hard-working. In fact, over 30% of UK office workers reported an increase in their daily productivity when they were allowed to work remotely.

While the move towards remote working has been slow to get going, we’re now witnessing the rise of remote working, with more and more organisations giving their employees the freedom to choose their own working environments. 54% of UK office workers are now able to work remotely if they choose, and a whopping 70% believe it is important that employers give employees the choice.

The most common argument against remote working is that employers don’t believe employees will work as hard if there isn’t a line manager on hand to ensure targets are met and hours are kept to. However, with all research confirming that remote working leads to more productive, efficient and happy workers, what’s holding some employers back?

IBM recently shook things up by insisting that 1000s of their employees will need to return to working in a dedicated office, despite the fact they’ve been a pioneer of remote working since the concept became mainstream. As expected, the move has been met with some discontent.

Our guess is that we’ll continue to see remote working become more and more commonplace in the near future, before it eventually becomes the norm. While some industries do lend themselves more to office-based work, the vast majority of employees can work effectively and happily from a home office. With less stressed employees, lower staff turnover, no need for expensive office rent and the ability to hire talented employees across the country, we don’t think (or hope!) that remote working will be slowing down any time soon.

Are you one of the 54% of UK office workers who are able to choose their working location? If so, did you notice an increase in your productivity when you started working remotely? We’d love to hear what you think about this topic, so don’t forget to comment below with your thoughts on remote working.