The Evolution of the Work from Home Culture
- 373,000 more workers are now working remotely compared to 2009, a 27% increase.
- A focus on collaboration has seen a rise in co-working spaces over traditional offices
- Remote working removes the ‘dreaded commute’, attracting a much wider talent pool
- Property that facilitates remote working is at a premium in a competitive market
A decade ago, the idea of working from home was nowhere near as prevalent as it is today. For most industries, remote working was not a possibility – whether due to limitations in technology or company culture.
Since the emergence of a more inclusive ‘tech culture’ however, flexibility with remote working has been a growing trend – there are now nearly 373,000 more employees working from home compared to 2009, an increase of 27%. With some companies utilising remote teams whilst others are providing a work from home ‘allowance’ of once or twice a week, remote working is a concept that is only expected to grow.
“Ten years ago, remote employment basically meant a telemarketing or customer service position at below minimum wage,” said Samantha Lambert, Director of Human Resources at website design company Blue Fountain Media. “It rarely was connected with a full-time career. Now, technology affords us the ability to get the same job done, no matter where in the world we are.”
As technology has evolved, so has connectivity. From advancements in video conferencing to the improvements of instant messaging apps such as Slack, workers from around the world can collaborate on shared projects like never before.
Collaboration is almost certainly a selling point of remote working – to the point where some companies have moved away from traditional office spaces and instead opted for ‘co-working’ spaces. Co-working spaces are more affordable and provide much more flexibility, allowing remote workers to meet face-to-face if necessary without the overheads associated with a traditional office.
For example, in Birmingham Bisnow describes 2018 as the year that ‘the flexible office sector arrived’, with the sector now claiming a quarter of the wider office market in Birmingham city centre. Increasingly, the co-working sector is seeing a shift towards making these facilities more ‘business-to-consumer’ friendly, to the point where staff are employed from the hospitality sector to deliver a better service.
With so many of these spaces available in cities around the world, it’s a growing culture facilitated by a more open approach to remote working from home. Bizspace Commercial Director Emma Long is convinced that the market will continue, “There are 1.3 million micro businesses out there that need floor space and it is not available… there’s not enough of us in the flexible sector so I think will be very unusual to see flexible operators fail.”
The Future of Working from Home
There are many benefits associated with working from home that also shouldn’t be overlooked. In a survey by Canada Life UK, they found that homeworkers ranked their productivity higher than that of office workers, with fewer distractions in a quieter environment.
Remote working also reduces commuting times – freeing up more time for work and reducing expenses. With no need for a commute, companies can also access a much wider talent pool – from international workers that would usually be out of reach to millennials that prioritise a work-life balance more than previous generations.
With this in mind, it’s no surprise that the evolution of the ‘work from home’ culture is having an impact on the property market. Developers are increasingly putting more resources into creating facilities that assist with remote working – such as the co-working spaces available at The Grand Exchange in Bracknell.
Premium products attract a premium tenant and its facilities such as a co-working space or WiFi café that are attracting a more professional demographic who are willing to pay more to live somewhere with quality amenities. In the Knight Frank Tenant Survey 2019, every ‘tenant personality’ measured by the report prioritised internal factors over external factors such as local shops. One of these internal factors? A technology lounge within their accommodation.
It’s expected that four million people would work from home if they were given the opportunity. With employment rates at record levels in certain regions of the UK, businesses need to focus on attracting and retaining talent – a goal that can be achieved via the flexibility offered by remote working. For investors, this trend can be harnessed through property investment. Whether the development includes a co-working space or is near a shared office, it’s likely to prove popular with a labour market that is actively looking for these opportunities.
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