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Remote working

It's been just over two years since the UK first went into lockdown, and nothing has been the same since then. The world of work in particular has been totally transformed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

One of the biggest shifts was in the number of people working from home. Before March 2020, many employers permitted remote working only in special circumstances (e.g. on days when employees were unable to travel due to extreme weather). But when push came to shove, we discovered that working from home is often a viable alternative to the traditional workplace.

The risk of spreading a dangerous virus was what spurred businesses to adapt and find ways to enable their people to work from home in 2020. But two years on and with COVID now less deadly than the flu in England, some workplaces have decided to stick with remote working, and public health is not the only reason.

Employers and workers alike have been made aware of the benefits of working from home, and many large businesses have stated that they'll never go back to their pre-COVID workplace setup.

As restrictions have eased and the majority of British adults have received their vaccinations, more and more workplaces have transitioned to 'hybrid' working: a combination of working from home and working in the office. Some companies are giving their employees the freedom to decide how they want to work, whether that's fully from home, fully from the office, or a bit of both. This has become so commonplace that, according to a recent study, 47% of employees would look for a new job if their employer didn't offer hybrid work as an option.

But is hybrid working genuinely a good solution for everyone? While many have been quick to sing the praises of the new normal, there are also some drawbacks that maybe aren't getting as much attention. It's important for the advantages and the disadvantages to be given equal consideration, so we're here to balance the scales and take a look at both the pros and cons of hybrid working.

What are the benefits of hybrid working?

Accessibility

Hybrid working makes it easier for those with physical disabilities and chronic illnesses to do jobs that would've been difficult if they necessitated a daily commute to and from the office. This is especially important in the age of the coronavirus, when people with long-term health conditions are potentially more vulnerable to viruses than others. It also makes full-time work more accessible for people who need to be at home for other reasons, such as looking after children or other family members.

Flexibility

Some people don't work well first thing in the morning, whereas others prefer to get up early and get everything done ASAP. Everyone peaks at different times of the day, and in certain roles, it doesn't matter which hours you're working as long as you put in the right number of hours and get all the work done. Hybrid working doesn't just give employees more control over where they work, it has also opened the door for conversations about when.

Increased productivity

Though some had their fears, the abrupt switch to remote working in 2020 did not result in a huge chunk of the UK workforce staying in bed and watching TV all day. Quite the reverse, in fact; there is some evidence that productivity actually goes up when working from home is permitted. Employees know how they work best, and with the freedom to create their own ideal work environment, they are boosting their output.

Less risk of illness

The very reason these workplace changes were implemented in the first place was to reduce the spread of COVID-19, and while vaccines and variants have made the danger less severe, the disease hasn't gone away. Hybrid working reduces the risks of transmission in the workplace, plus it gives employees the opportunity to express an increased awareness of their own health and the health of others around them. According to a government survey, the number of people who would stay home from work if they caught a cold has increased since the arrival of COVID-19 in this country. Hybrid working has given people the opportunity to stay home and protect their fellow employees without missing out on work or using up their sick days.

Any job, anywhere

The option to work from home greatly mitigates the difficulty of finding a new job if you don't live near a big city. You can now apply for your dream job even if it's based hundreds of miles away. This added flexibility broadens the horizons of both employers and employees, helping workers to find a job that really suits them and allowing businesses to recruit from a far larger talent pool.

Environmental benefits

When lockdown measures were first introduced, people stopped travelling, and carbon emissions dropped significantly. Climate remains still a pressing issue for governments around the world, and hybrid working may be a useful weapon in the fight to protect our planet.

Are you looking for a job that will give you the flexibility to work from home? Hyper Recruitment Solutions have got you covered. Click the link below to browse a range of work from home / hybrid working vacancies in the UK life science sector.

Work From Home Jobs

What are the drawbacks of hybrid working?

Inconsistency

For people who would prefer to work either completely from home or completely in the office, the hybrid working system can be very disruptive to the working week - especially if it's never set in stone which days are office days and which days aren't. Furthermore, regularly switching from one to the other means that an individual will be constantly carrying their work materials (files, notebooks, laptops, folders, etc.) between their home and the workplace. Not only is this cumbersome and inconvenient, it also increases the possibility that something will get lost or left behind by accident, potentially causing a lot of problems.

Communication issues

It's easy for things to get lost in translation when you're communicating via email, text messages and so on. It also takes a lot more time to write out an email and wait for a reply than it does to have a face-to-face conversation. With the workforce constantly moving back and forth between home and office, it can be difficult to keep track of who's in when, and rounding up people for important meetings can become quite complicated.

Isolation

Working alone at home for an extended period of time can take a toll on your mental health, especially if you're used to being surrounded by colleagues in a more traditional working environment. It's very easy for people to get lonely and depressed without the element of social interaction to help them get through the day. Remote working also makes it harder for employers to check on their workers and make sure they're OK.

Unsuitable workspaces

Some people have large homes with lots of space, and maybe even a dedicated office or study to work in. But not everyone is so lucky. Many of us don't have a suitable workspace in the home. And of course, depending on your home environment, you may have to contend with curious children, loud neighbours, noisy construction work, and umpteen other distractions while working remotely.

Practicality

Not every job can be hybrid. If you work in a laboratory, you can't exactly carry all of your lab equipment home in your briefcase! Trying to encourage an employee to work from home can stunt productivity if it's just not possible for them to execute certain tasks at home.

Overworking

Working from home can make it more difficult to differentiate between work and home life, especially if you don't have a dedicated workspace that you can leave at the end of the day. You may find yourself associating your personal spaces with work, which can make it difficult to relax in your spare time. This can lead to unnecessary stress if you're dwelling on work when you ought to be relaxing and re-energising.

So, while hybrid working offers many benefits, there are also several drawbacks that you should keep in mind when trying to decide what kind of work environment is best for you.

If you're looking to start a new career in the life science industry, there are a wide range of different jobs currently available. Whether you're looking for in office work, hybrid work, or work from home opportunities, click the link below to browse the latest job listings with HRS.

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READ MORE: How to Maintain Your Work-Life Balance While Working from Home