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How Cambridge is seeing an influx of remote workers

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The number of people working from home is on the rise in Cambridge and across the country.

There’s been a big jump in the remote workforce in the last two years, mainly due to the pandemic. Reported figures of people working remotely in 2019 were 27 per cent of the workforce while it was as high as 50 per cent in 2020. In addition to this, up to 60 per cent of workers in the country would actually prefer working all the time or some of the time remotely. While numbers have gone down since then, with many offices reopening, the percentage of people working from home is still high and may never go back down.

There’s been a big jump in the remote workforce in the last two years, mainly due to the pandemic.
There’s been a big jump in the remote workforce in the last two years, mainly due to the pandemic.

In Cambridge and the rest of the UK, more businesses are now opting to hire remotely, which gives them access to a wider talent pool. While Cambridge does have the university on its doorstep, with many qualified applicants to choose from, businesses in the local area have an even greater range. There are tens of thousands of remote positions currently being advertised in the UK, and many Cambridge residents are applying.

What it takes to work remotely

Most remote working positions are just like any others. Only you won’t need to visit the office unless required. This could be for any kind of office-based role such as digital marketing, SEO, or administration. According to AWISEE, a growing number of digital marketing experts now work from home. Working remotely is often split into two categories, full-time remote and part-time remote. For some, working from home all the time is preferable, while others appreciate being flexible and getting to head into the office occasionally.

To work from home, you need to be able to be organised and self-reliant, and you’ll need to have a good internet connection. Aside from that, it’s really important to have great communication skills, as you won’t be able to communicate face to face for a lot of the time. While Zoom meetings do help, they’re not the same as a real meeting, so for that reason, some people prefer the office.

While remote working does have a lot of positives, it isn’t without its detractors. Around seven in 10 CEOs and business leaders feel that those working from home could be damaging their future career chances. Three in five of the wider public also agree, which could mean trouble down the line for those choosing to look exclusively for remote work.

What does remote work mean for Cambridge?

So far, it’s unclear what the long-term impacts of work from home may have on the country and its workforce. However, it’s possible to make assumptions based on what has already been seen. One of the main advantages of working from home is that it lets people live in lower cost of living areas while still working high paying jobs. This means people can move away from crowded cities and into more rural areas, helping to increase regeneration while lowering overpopulation in urban areas.

Increasing the number of remote workers could help to ease congestion.
Increasing the number of remote workers could help to ease congestion.

Cambridge has long had issues with traffic congestion within the city centre, with regular roadworks only exacerbating issues. These issues could potentially be solved by increasing the number of remote workers. Rather than having people commuting into the city each day and increasing congestion, people would work from home. That would leave the roads relatively clear and free for essential traffic, minimising congestion and accidents as well as pollution.

An increase in remote working opportunities could also attract new talent and business to the city. Cambridge has always been a vibrant hub of science, technology and young talent. But as more companies move away from traditional business cities such as London, they might look to set up in Cambridge and the surrounding area. More remote work means that companies aren’t tied down to a single location and can easily still recruit from anywhere.

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