While this rapid rise can be explained by COVID lockdowns, a recent survey my colleagues and I conducted with 2,000 London workers found that six in ten employees still regularly work from home despite restrictions no longer being in place. And most don’t want that to change.
3. Career trajectories
Studies show that a move towards less hierarchical, more efficient and flexible organisations results in a “new deal” of employment. Employers no longer guarantee job security and progression for employees, but gain their commitment by providing opportunities – including training programmes – that enhance their employability.
The onus then moves to employees to manage their own career progression, which remote working may help them with. For example, we know working from home can reduce distractions and improve productivity. Taken with the commuting time saved, young professionals may have more time to dedicate to development opportunities, such as studying for additional qualifications. This could increase their attractiveness in the job market.
Indeed, young professionals seem to be the most likely to switch jobs. If they don’t expect to remain with an organisation long term, they may be less motivated to build strong relationships with colleagues and managers, and unwilling to put their own goals aside for those of the organisation.
4. Managers’ behaviour
First, managers who work remotely are likely to find it harder to stop juniors from doing the same. Managers’ ability to monitor and develop their junior staff in person, a common reason for prohibiting remote work in the past, is also reduced if managers are away from the office themselves.
Second, as more managers work remotely, younger employees may feel more confident that doing so won’t prevent them achieving success. Managers serve as role models to junior employees and evidence shows that younger professionals seek success by copying role models’ behaviour.
Avoiding the pitfalls of hybrid working
Despite the positives, younger employees, with comparatively limited experience and networks, may face disproportionately negative outcomes from remote working in terms of recognition, development and networking opportunities.
So if you’re a young professional working remotely, how can you avoid the pitfalls of hybrid working?
Setting your own goals can keep motivation and performance high. Meanwhile, proactively communicating your challenges and achievements to senior and peer-level colleagues can ensure that you receive guidance and recognition.
It’s a good idea to plan some of your time in the office to coordinate with team members or managers. At the same time, it’s useful to try to schedule office visits on different days of the week. This can help maintain key relationships but also help build networks through bumping into colleagues you don’t necessarily work as closely with.
Finally, upping attendance at external conferences and events could increase your value to the organisation through encouraging innovation and fresh ideas, while keeping you aware of external employment opportunities.
- ^ remote working revolution (www.taylorfrancis.com)
- ^ slowly growing (post.parliament.uk)
- ^ working from home (comskills.co.uk)
- ^ recent survey (www.kcl.ac.uk)
- ^ other parts of the world (siepr.stanford.edu)
- ^ a substantial increase (cep.lse.ac.uk)
- ^ This article is part of Quarter Life (theconversation.com)
- ^ Hybrid working post-COVID: how young professionals can optimise their time in the office (and why they should) (theconversation.com)
- ^ Long social distancing: how young adults’ habits have changed since COVID (theconversation.com)
- ^ Taking a mental health day can be good for you – here’s how to make the most of one (theconversation.com)
- ^ in their 20s (www.cipd.co.uk)
- ^ least likely (www.ons.gov.uk)
- ^ we surveyed (www.kcl.ac.uk)
- ^ research (www.ipsos.com)
- ^ European data (joint-research-centre.ec.europa.eu)
- ^ most conducive (joint-research-centre.ec.europa.eu)
- ^ Evidence (onlinelibrary.wiley.com)
- ^ Our own (www.kcl.ac.uk)
- ^ other research (journals.sagepub.com)
- ^ research (www.shrm.org)
- ^ attract and retain (www.tandfonline.com)
- ^ our research (www.kcl.ac.uk)
- ^ recognised advantage (www.sciencedirect.com)
- ^ reduce spending (www.ons.gov.uk)
- ^ G-Stock Studio/Shutterstock (www.shutterstock.com)
- ^ Studies (www.proquest.com)
- ^ employability (www.emerald.com)
- ^ improve productivity (www.chicagobooth.edu)
- ^ young professionals (www.gallup.com)
- ^ many more managers (www.birmingham.ac.uk)
- ^ evidence (econpapers.repec.org)
- ^ disproportionately negative outcomes (yougov.co.uk)
- ^ your own goals (www.researchgate.net)