Hybrid and remote working in the North of England: impact and future prospects

Publication type



Publication date

July 15, 2021


As the full scale and implications of the post-pandemic shift to hybrid working are becoming clearer, this new joint Work Foundation and Newcastle University Business School report provides insight into the challenges and opportunities related to remote working for businesses and places in the North of England.

This study, based on secondary data analysis and 33 interviews with businesses and local stakeholders, finds that employee preferences are likely to drive the shift to enduring hybrid working in the months following Government’s removal of the working from home guidance.

Our research found that remote working enhanced workers’ sense of flexibility and autonomy, which led to enhanced trust between employers and staff. At the same time, this mode of working blurred boundaries between work and home life, which was reported to negatively impact mental wellbeing. Going forward, interviewees note that some form of face-to-face interaction will likely be important to sustain organisational culture, induct new staff, maintain formal and informal connections between staff, and enable managers to better gauge and support worker wellbeing.

Insights around the impact of a shift to hybrid working for local areas and labour markets indicate that while some displacement of jobs and economic activity is anticipated, the continued need to commute in to a shared work space at least some of the time means it is likely workers will remain rooted in their local context to a much greater extent than with exclusive remote working.

Evidence from this research provides a sense of what employers and government can do to support a positive transition to hybrid work.




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