The New Normal: A Blueprint for Remote Working

In this report, Autonomy provides analysis and proposals for a remote working future designed with worker wellbeing and organisational efficiency in mind.

The great exodus from office to home triggered by coronavirus is set to dramatically alter future work arrangements both in the short- and long-term. People working remotely, otherwise referred to as ‘teleworking’, began in the ICT industry in the 1970s and has been steadily growing in number since. As of Covid, this steady trickle has become an accelerated flow. Social distancing measures have meant millions have been forced to work from home for the first time. At the pandemic’s peak, predictions place the number of workers doing their jobs from home at around 45-50% of the workforce. In the IT and education sectors, this rose to well above 60%.

Remote work promises many benefits to workers and society at large:

• Greater free time
• Less time commuting
• Greater autonomy over working life

There is a tendency, however, to assume that working remotely automatically equals a good deal for workers. The picture is somewhat more complicated. As well as autonomy, greater leisure time and less time spent commuting, remote work is often associated with significant increases in working hours and poor mental health outcomes. The focus of this report is how to maximise the benefits of remote work while remaining diligent to the risks it poses.

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