Research shows nearly 75% of East Midlands businesses have ditched pre-pandemic working for hybrid approach

A recent survey has found that almost 75% of businesses in the East Midlands are set to stick with the hybrid working approaches they have developed during the pandemic.

Thursday, 6th January 2022, 2:30 pm
Updated Thursday, 6th January 2022, 2:31 pm
Local businesses are keen to maintain the working practices that have become commonplace during the pandemic.

Of the 400 respondents to the East Midlands Chamber of Commerce’s quarterly economic survey, less than 20% said they had fully returned to pre-pandemic working patterns. The majority of businesses said they were not planning a complete return to how they worked previously- 66% said they would only “mostly” or “partially” do so, and 7% said they would “not at all”.

Director of resources and HR lead at the East Midlands Chamber, Lucy Robinson, said: “This research confirms what many Chamber members have been telling us in recent months, which is that they expect to embrace a hybrid structure of office and remote working in the future.

“It’s obviously not feasible for every organisation to take this approach and there’s still lots of jobs that can’t be done remotely, and it’s clear that the office will remain an important hub for collaboration between teams and developing the skills of younger employees.

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“However, the disruption of Covid-19 has paved the way forward for a new mindset among some businesses that have witnessed a number of benefits from greater flexibility- including making it easier to attract and retain employees, as well as lower operating costs- and we expect to see a hybrid approach become significantly more popular in the long-term.”

For companies continuing with most, some or all of their pandemic-induced working habits, one of the primary reasons was to do with travel. Many businesses have decided that travel is less necessary, having discovered the benefits of video calls, online events and cloud computing.

When asked what has changed for their business, 78% of respondents cited greater flexibility in location of work, and more than half had reduced in-person events as well as local and international travel. Another significant change was that business leaders wanted to see increased investment in staff engagement and wellbeing, an option which was selected by 59% of respondents.

The series of questions to business leaders concerning the future of work was commissioned by Air IT to companies in Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire and Leicestershire. The research was conducted before the Government reintroduced a mandate to work from home where possible.