REMOTE CTRL - Building Skills and Attributes for Remote Working
ERASMUS+ : 2020-
“When we have all the answers, the questions change”. Not within recent history, has this quote been more pertinent than it is now. At the time of writing this application, COVID-19 is our new reality. It is ravaging global health services; forcing global citizens into lock-down; seen business, schools, universities, and the majority of public services close their doors, with some in both the public and private sectors remaining closed indefinitely. Across Europe, as well as these issues we have seen a ban on non-essential travel, as COVID-19 calls into question the ideals of open borders and the free movement of people, amongst other emblems of the European vision.
The level of economic downturn and the surge in unemployment figures are unprecedented. Experts estimate that an economic depression, akin to the Great Depression of the 1930s, is around the corner; as society has been shut so too has our economy and we do not know how or when it will recover. “When we have all the answers, the questions change”. Just as we were beginning to see the progress from our economic recovery following the crisis in 2008; now we find ourselves with the need to plan a new economic recovery; but this time in a very changed world.
Remote working is not just a topic that has emerged because of COVID-19; but the pandemic has brought into focus the potential for more employees to work remotely; and has also given insight into the personal, economic and environmental benefits work pursuing remote working policies. In terms of the personal benefits of remote working to employees, 77% of people say that working from home has improved their overall health and wellbeing (FlexJobs, 2018). This is supported by statistics which show that workplace stress and anxiety in the UK alone, cause a loss of 15.4 million staff days each year (UK HSE, 2018). It is no wonder then, that 20% of people would be willing to take a pay-cut of more than 10% in order to work remotely (Owl Labs, 2019); and 21% of people stating that they would do away with annual leave days, to be able to work remotely at least part-time (FlexJobs, 2018). Studies have also shown that employee productivity increases with remote working, on average by working 1.4 more days every month, resulting in more than 3 additional weeks of work per year, per employee. In a survey of 7,000 workers, 65% felt they were more productive in remote working environments due to reduction in stress from commuting, fewer interruptions from fellow employees and even a break from "office drama" (Owl Labs, 2019).