UK businesses have weighed in on the future of remote working as the UK government is set to drop its official Work from Home Guidelines (WFH) later this month.
As the economy appears to reopen fully on June 21, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said he intends to follow the guidelines in the coming weeks, which means Britons should no longer be told about the WFH after this date.
While employees have proven that they can meet the demands of their jobs while working remotely, and businesses have shown that they can operate, some companies are divided over the long-term future of remote working.
“As the blockages are lifted and vaccination rates continue to rise, it has naturally sparked a heated debate on the future of remote working,” said Nikolas Kairinos, CEO and founder of Soffos. “For many companies, the pandemic has been a game-changer – changes have been introduced not only to ensure business continuity, but to allow employees to be more productive and fulfilled in their roles. “
Research has revealed that many organizations have been ill-equipped to enable distance work and training over the past year.
While the use of technologies such as Zoom (ZM), Teams and Slack (WORK) has increased during the pandemic, new data shared exclusively with Yahoo Finance UK, shows that 36% of organizations have experienced communication outages during the pandemic. WFH.
Companies in the architectural and building engineering sectors mainly experience communication problems, with 44% of recognized failures.
Of the 750 business leaders surveyed by Soffos.ai, 39% admitted having struggled to find time for training and 38% noticed lower collaboration within their organization.
A third (33%) say they lack the tools and knowledge to effectively support remote employees, according to the AI-based Learning Platform study. This percentage rose to 41% in the banking sector.
Vital sectors of the UK economy said the pandemic had widened the skills gap / shortages in their businesses, including banking (62%), healthcare (58%), legal (53%), sales, media and marketing (52%), IT and telecommunications (48%) and retail, catering and entertainment (44%).
Read more: How COVID has changed the UK hotel industry
Looking ahead, Soffos has found that 50% of companies intend to prioritize digital training over in-person training over the next 12 months.
“The truth is, hybrid work is likely to stay in place long after the pandemic is over. With the right infrastructure in place, businesses will reap the benefits of remote working,” Kairinos added.
“To make the change successful, organizations will therefore need greater investments in digital infrastructure, as well as in key technologies to support the learning and professional development of their workers. “
At the same time, many companies are considering investing more in technology to enable them to better support their employees.
Majority (52%) plan to invest in data analytics to understand the strengths, weaknesses and unique needs of their workforce, and 43% will invest in artificial intelligence to deliver training initiatives more advanced.
COVID has forever changed the way many industries operate, as many sites have been forced to find alternative ways of doing business as restrictions and social distancing were imposed.
It comes after a separate study by card payment company Dojo found that following COVID, 95% of UK hospitality locations are looking to implement the technology in their businesses.
Catalyzed by the events of the past 12 months, hotel technology has gone from being a niche product to an absolute necessity.
The crisis has propelled contactless payment and orders. From mobile apps to online orders, 43% of customers have been using some form of ordering and payment technology since July 2020.
Watch: What UK Government COVID-19 Support Is Available?