Is Remote Working on the Way Out?

Working from home was quickly labelled “the new normal” during the Covid-19 pandemic but, as time has gone by, are we slowly slipping back into the old normal? Big names like Meta, Google, and Twitter said that they were embracing the shift to remote working, but have since changed their minds.

The whole issue is creating a huge disconnect between employers’ and employees’ expectations. “Remote work jobs” and “work from home jobs” hit an all-time high for Google searches in Jan 2023. However, the number of vacancies offering that possibility is getting lower. Remote listings on LinkedIn jobs site fell from 16% at the start of the 2022, to 12% in December.

A woman sits cross-legged on her bed with a laptop in front of her, working from home.

At Elevation, we don’t believe that remote work is dead yet. (We’d be pretty hypocritical if we did, seeing as most of our team works from home 2 days a week!) But, to explain why, let’s explore both sides of the argument…


Why do employees want to work from home?

For an employee, remote working has many benefits. The lack of a commute offers the foundation for a better work-life balance. Some appreciate the fact that there are fewer interruptions from talkative colleagues. And remote work options open up a world of opportunities to job seekers who would find working in an office difficult e.g. disabled folk or those with caregiving responsibilities. It also means that job seekers aren’t restricted to their local area.

All of these benefits add up to a great recipe for improving staff wellbeing. It’s no wonder so many employees don’t want to go back!

An infographic weighing up the pros and cons of working from home. On the left we have the pros; no commute, fewer interruptions, not restricted to local jobs, and more accessible for disabled workers/caregivers. On the right, we have the cons; can be isolating, requires more self-discipline, and difficult for collaborative projects.

That being said, working from home can be isolating for some, and requires good time-management to prevent procrastinating. Which is where hybrid arrangements come in. Hybrid allows the best of both worlds – the relaxed, independent nature of home-work, and the more social office-work with easy communication for collaborative jobs.

The Office for National Statistics reports that hybrid working increased through 2022, while the number of people working exclusively from home dropped.


Why do employers want staff back in the office?

On the flip side, many employers are trying to coax as many people back as possible. Are they not aware of all the benefits remote working has for employee wellbeing? They probably are, but managing a team remotely is very different to managing a team in-person, in an office.

In remote arrangements, everyone has to work on their communication skills. Supervisors, in particular, are going to spend a lot more time keeping in touch with their team. Not to the point where they become a micro-manager, of course! But they cannot stick to the same communication habits they used in the office. Working from home also makes it harder to onboard new team members and build team relationships. So remote working is not without its problems.

A laptop screen shows multiple people on a video conference call.

There’s also the fact that employers may have rented office space which will be going unused if everyone works from home all the time. Office occupancy in London has gone from 60-80% pre-pandemic, to just 26.5% in March 2023. Even in hybrid arrangements, offices are going to be empty part of the time. The sunk cost fallacy means they could be reluctant to abandon this investment so quickly.

However, the ability to work from home is exactly what allowed many businesses to even make it through the pandemic! That flexibility means that businesses can be agile in difficult times – something that every employer should be concerned with.

Plus, if a company has proved that it can cope with remote working, not offering work from home means that they’re limiting their recruitment options. HR experts suggest that companies could miss out on 70% of candidates by being inflexible on this matter. Just as candidates are no longer restricted by geographical proximity, neither are employers.

A graphic displays the quote from Rey Ramirez, cofounder of Thrive HR Consulting, "Right now, if you're not offering a flexible or remote programme, you're missing out on 50% to 70% of candidates."


What does this mean for the future of remote working?

In a word; compromise. Employers want workers in the office, but employees want to stay home so most workplaces are using on a hybrid model to keep both sides happy.

A key thing to recognise, however, is that employees are actually in a strong position to negotiate what they want. We’re currently experiencing a labour and skills shortage – meaning that it’s hard for employers to find the talent they need. And if they want a chance at attracting the very best talent, they need to make their offer the most appealing. Experienced employees who have proven their worth will be even better positioned to ask for hybrid/remote options.

A manager and an employee sit at a table, the employee is negotiating their contract to include flexible work arrangements.

To conclude, remote working is definitely not on the way out. There may not be as many 100% remote roles as initially thought following the pandemic, but it certainly paved the way for more hybrid arrangements. The employers who stand the best chance for success in the future will be the ones who remain flexible and can adapt their leadership approach.


If you’re looking for a new position and wondering how you can negotiate a working arrangement to suit you – we can help! Much like a recruiter can negotiate a better salary on your behalf, they can also enquire about other benefits, including remote working opportunities.

Get in touch today to chat about your career goals on 01709 723 248.

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