Is ‘perma-home working’ a fad or here to stay?

A woman using a laptop to work from home.
(Image credit: Shutterstock - fizkes)

COVID-19 has been a catalyst for change in the workplace. Almost overnight, when the pandemic hit, companies around the world suddenly switched to remote work models. Now two years on, restrictions have eased and many workers are heading back to the office for a couple of days every week. 

About the author

Joe Walsh, Director of B2B at Samsung Electronics UK and Ireland.

However, there is a rising trend for people to choose home and where they want to, with more jobs being advertised as hybrid or totally remote roles. Is this ‘perma-home working’ a fad or here to stay? Will we see a clear divergence between people who solely work from home and those who prefer office-based or hybrid working? And what can businesses do to support their workers no matter how or where they work in order to retain the best, productive workforce?

The race for talent requires flexibility

With the highest number of job vacancies in the UK for 20 years (1.3 million – ONS, March 2022), many workers are deciding to switch careers or leave long standing jobs. With many exploring job opportunities that provide greater work flexibility. In fact, according to Google search data, there has been a 24,900% increase in average searches for “fully remote jobs” in Q1 2022 vs 2017. 

This suggests that today’s talent are actively seeking out organizations that are offering the ability to work flexibility – whether in-office, at home or a hybrid of the two. With workers demanding more from their employers, it is critical that businesses implement solutions and tech that not only support productivity but provide the option for employees to work flexibly with ease, to enhance their worker experience and retention.

Seamless tech makes for a happier workforce

There has been no one-size-fits-all experience to remote working over the past couple of years. Some organizations and people have adapted quickly, while others have struggled with all manner of challenges impacting productivity, wellbeing and work-life balance. 

One of the biggest being tech issues. It drives down productivity and makes it harder for employees to get their work done. To ensure employees are as productive as they can be, the onus is on employers to provide workers with the latest tech to effectively work from home. From unreliable home Wi-Fi to poor AV quality during video conferencing, all of these common tech issues impact staff performance and contentment.

To resolve this, it is important to kit out your employee’s home offices with the same standard of tech and equipment they would expect in the traditional office environment but designed for greater portability to flex to the latest worker needs. Whether using Wi-Fi extenders to boost connectivity, 5G-enabled devices providing superfast connectivity or PC devices with a slim and light form factor that allow for greater mobility to work between different locations. 

Employee expectations around what a good tech experience should entail has heightened during the pandemic, as everyone relied upon tech much more to stay connected with colleagues during that time. It is now business critical that employees have the best equipment at home as they would in the office to ensure they have an easy to use, seamless experience and can feel connected, content and firing on all cylinders.

Beyond the home environment, whether smartphone, PC, audio, tablet, or smartwatch, employees require seamless connectivity between all devices to provide continuity and connectivity across all touch points – helping to eliminate work silos. So whether employees are working on their tablet from the sofa in the morning, they don’t have to stop the ideas flowing when they want to switch back to their desk and work from their PC in the afternoon. Those companies that provide staff with the technology to enjoy frictionless cross-device experiences will reap the benefits of a more productive and content workforce.

Taking a mobile-first approach

Smartphones are often considered an extension of our identities – providing connection, communication and knowledge, all within arm’s reach. So, it is no surprise that mobile media consumption has risen from 45 minutes per day to 252 minutes across the past decade (World Economic Forum, 2021). And with that, our expectations of technology have changed – we no longer use our devices in isolation.

With smartphones almost always on your person, there is a hunger for professional and personal tech to be part of a wider ecosystem of facilities that allows greater integration with team members and allows each employee to focus on work. Tech that offers this seamless connectivity between devices and services – whether using laptops, PCs or smartphones - will ensure effective collaboration with colleagues no matter where they are working. 

Connecting the PC and smartphone is key to unlocking new digital experiences for the modern world and mobile-first users. For too long, consumer experience has been hindered by siloed operating systems and proprietary software. While app use enables this connectivity to a degree, device hardware and software must be designed in tandem to create the frictionless cross-device experiences that will make consumers’ lives easier.

Research shows three in four British adults now own a laptop, but many are no longer enamored by their PC experience, as they long for what they experience on their smartphone (Mintel Report, 2021). Instant-on, powerful, long-lasting battery, vivid display, thin & light. This desire is also reflected for what people want to use in the workplace too.

Tech that’s designed with a mobile-first approach is more intuitive and helps people work in the way they want to, helping them connect and instill a company culture and connectivity across employees, whether they are working from home permanently or adopting a hybrid model of working.

The way we live and work has changed for good and tech needs to keep apace

One of the most obvious impacts of COVID-19 in the workplace is the dramatic increase in employees working remotely or in a hybrid fashion. This is a trend that is set to continue. But to do so successfully, both perma-home office and hybrid workers must be equipped with the appropriate technology to be successful and for their working environments to be fit for the future. 

And with 5G playing an increasingly important role in the way we live and play, the technology we use will need to integrate with this to ensure seamless and fast continuity between devices. Technology that helps them stay productive and connected with colleagues in real-time is a must have not a nice to have. Organizations that achieve this will be the market leaders of tomorrow - reaping the benefits of an effective, collaborative and happy workforce.

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Joe Walsh

Joe Walsh, Director of B2B at Samsung Electronics UK and Ireland.