More than a quarter of businesses in Wales say increased working from home will be a permanent feature, according to new government research.
The Business Insights and Conditions survey, which received over 8,000 responses from across the UK, found that a large number of Welsh businesses wanted to make the changes brought about by Covid permanent.
The work took place between January 24 and February 6, with 27.1% of Welsh businesses “using, or intending to use, an increase in working from home as a permanent business model in the future”.
The UK average of responses was 25.3%.
Experts have now said there are opportunities for businesses in Wales to become world leaders in the new hybrid approach, where businesses work part of the week from home and part of the week from the office.
Former politician Gavin Brown runs presentation company Speak With Impact, which has spent much of the lockdown working with businesses around the world to train them to adapt to a hybrid, virtual future.
He said businesses could use the changing patterns to their advantage and there were many benefits for the economy in a hybrid future.
In the survey, 85% of Welsh businesses said they were pursuing change because it improved staff wellbeing, 45% said it increased productivity, while 52.2% said it would allow them to recruit from a wider geographic pool.
Gavin Brown, director of Speak with impactnoted:
It has been clear for some time that many businesses across Wales would embrace some degree of hybrid working as a long-term solution.
“This survey shows that more than a quarter of companies now see this as the future. This means that we must prepare ourselves at all levels for change.
“This includes improving training when it comes to properly using virtual apps like Zoom, and serious investments in technology.
“If Wales embraces this, there is actually a huge opportunity to make it one of the leading hybrid business centers in the world.
“It will boost the economy, increase high-quality employment opportunities and open the world to businesses that previously operated primarily on these shores.”