In a new report, think-tank Demos finds that remote working should become the default for workers in Britain and calls on the government to find ways to accommodate this growth.
The report indicates that, instead of being concerned about empty offices in major cities, the government should focus on improving the infrastructure of smaller and secondary cities.
The firm’s research found that four-fifths of the population want to continue remote working after the pandemic, with young people expressing the desire to have workspaces closer to their homes.
Even more, half of those working from home said they want to spend more money locally after restrictions are lifted, which could help boost the economy in these rural and coastal areas.
“Homeworking is a regeneration tool, spreading the spending power of the people with the most disposable income. Let’s embrace it,” said Kitty Ussher, a former Treasury minister and chief economist at Demos.
At the moment, employees do have the legal right to request flexible working arrangements from their employer. However, the government committed to explore how to make flexible working the default unless employers have a reason to prevent it.
“Remote working helps places where there are more white-collar jobs at the moment. But it’s important to say that it helps everywhere,” said Ussher. “I don’t think the fact that the positive effects are unequally distributed in the current economic structure is a reason to be against it.”