UK’s low productivity linked to remote work
Jun 20, 2024
UK’s low productivity linked to remote work
Jun 20, 2024


UK’s low productivity linked to remote work – but you must do what is right for your firm.

By Serena Haththotuwa

According to new labour market research from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), there is a clear link between lower national levels of productivity and the rise in working from home.

From 2019 to 2022, productivity in the capital fell by 2.7%, with the Northwest of England seeing the strongest growth of 7.9% over the same period. Economists are attributing the decline to the shift to remote work, and argue that decreased engagement, motivation and in-person coordination has damaged productivity in the city.

There’s been a lot of noise about the benefits and risks of working from home. And the recent stats from the ONS do paint a picture of the risks involved. But ultimately, employers need to decide if they’re going to mandate their workforce back to the office based on their own personal data, culture, and the needs of their staff.

If the pandemic and the shifts in workplace flexibility has taught us anything, it’s that every employee has individual needs, and every company has their own needs too. Depending on the industry an organisation is in, their culture, and a myriad of other factors that make the firm what it is, these elements determine whether remote work leads to productivity.


It’s easy to get distracted or anxious by the news that remote work is linked to low productivity on a national level, but that doesn’t mean it’s true for your own organisation. That’s why coming up with ways to measure the productivity of your own firm and basing your decision on this is the most important thing you can do.

But it doesn’t stop there. Considering what your workforce wants is also an important piece of the puzzle, or you could risk losing talented people – in the middle of a skills crisis – if they jump ship for another firm offering flexibility.

The bottom line is that it’s an individual choice on if flexibility works or not, and so don’t be side-tracked or brainwashed by the idea that remote work is bad for business, because for many firms it’s the complete opposite – you just need to figure out if that’s the case for your company.





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