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Over a quarter (28%) of the UK’s fastest growing businesses are planning to switch to permanent remote working in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to new Growth Index research released today by ECI Partners, the leading growth-focused mid-market private equity firm.

While the switch to remote working long-term has been made an option for employees at large organisations, it is perhaps surprising that such a proportion of the UK’s growing mid-market firms are also planning a similar approach.

In addition to shifting to permanent remote working, the businesses surveyed are looking at several routes to changing the future of work in response to the pandemic:

  • 43% plan to increase the flexibility of working from home
  • 41% plan to invest in more technology
  • 36% plan to invest more in their people
  • 31% plan to move or downsize their current premises

Though remote working is clearly not possible for all roles in all sectors, there are some definitive differences in which sectors are planning to adopt remote working on a permanent basis. Over a third (35%) of healthcare firms surveyed plan to, alongside 30% of financial services firms. Perhaps unsurprisingly, less than a quarter (24%) of consumer businesses plan to offer remote working long term, and instead are prioritising moving or downsizing their premises (32%) or increasing outsourcing (29%).

Tom Wrenn, Partner at ECI Partners said:

“Changes to working practices accelerated in a matter of months, and many are now finding it hard to imagine a return to ‘normal’. While over a quarter of mid-market firms predict a shift to permanent remote working, the death knell for the office has not come yet.

It is far more likely that the majority of companies will look to a hybrid solution as they look to benefit from both the culture and collaboration of the office and the flexibility of working from home.”