Remote Working in 2021 and Beyond: What To Expect

As we begin 2021 leaving behind a tumultuous year, it is important to evaluate just how much has changed since the spring of 2020. There is no doubt that Covid-19 has forced us to adapt in more ways than we can imagine.

According to the ONS, approximately 49% of the UK’s workforce in 2020’s first quarter was working from home in some capacity due to the social distancing measures introduced by the government.

A large number of businesses have had to shift their working models – moving meetings from conference rooms to dining rooms and kitchen tables. The pandemic has forced business leaders to react quickly while also thinking about long term effects and solutions.

The traditional 9 to 5 model is increasingly becoming an outdated system. The pandemic has certainly accelerated the idea of remote working – with some companies set to declare this as a permanent fixture within the work patterns for their employees.

So, has the pandemic forced us to look at remote working in a new light? Has it achieved a long-term shift in mindset?

Let’s take a closer look at the overall impact of remote working for job seekers and employees, businesses and recruitment trends in this new year.


In 2021, there is no doubt that there will be a greater demand for jobs with a remote working option. According to the Glassdoor Employment Confidence Survey, 60% of job seekers interviewed consider additional benefits (including working from home and flexible schedules) as a factor when switching jobs. Remote working is definitely appealing and has numerous advantages – better work life balance, no travel costs, less time spent travelling, increased productivity and higher morale. A survey conducted by Buffer reported a staggering 99% of individuals interviewed would like to work remotely in some capacity for the rest of their career.

What can we expect

  • Of course, with long term remote working comes a real tech fatigue. Before the pandemic, 2/3rds of our social interactions were face to face. But now, due to lockdowns and other restrictions, most businesses are poised to continue working remotely for a majority of 2021. Being on Zoom meetings, emails and continuous calls throughout the day is definitely taking its psychological toll on employees. Research conducted by London South Bank University suggests intensive unregulated remote communications can harm employee wellbeing at work.
  • Remote working also overcomes traditional barriers like location, this would mean more competition per role which is something to consider as a job seeker in 2021.
  • Digital competency will also be a skill that would need to be honed by new job seekers – something we all will need to adapt and be proficient in, to stand out in such a large, global pool of applicants.


Recruiters will also need to adapt to these new trends. If more of the workforce moves into remote working, geographical barriers become less of an issue. This would mean opening up of much larger talent pools and an increased diversity in the workforce, which is great from a recruiter’s perspective.

What can we expect

  • With an increase in competition per role, recruiters would need to consider streamlining processes to handle this larger influx of candidates.
  • Salaries may also look to potentially drop – companies like Facebook are now considering placing remote working employees on salaries based on their geographical location.
  • Another factor recruiters would need to consider with candidates would be digital competency – is the individual able to communicate effectively through digital mediums? Are they competent with tech and can structure their day within the digital sphere in an influential way? Most interviews and onboarding is now being done fully remote i.e over Zoom and emails – so gauging if the employee responds positively to this will be crucial.


There is no doubt that we will be seeing more companies hopping onto the remote working model at some level – be it 100% remote or a hybrid working model (A survey conducted by HubbleHQ found 85% of UK employees would want to work remotely for at least 1 day per week).

Streamlining processes, digital onboarding, global (or cross border at least!) talent pools and virtual meetings are fast becoming our new reality. Businesses, employees and recruiters will need prepare for a larger digital workforce as we move forward in a post-pandemic era. Remote working is here to stay.

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