Coronavirus may help drive the change to remote working that millions of people have been requesting for years. This is according to award-winning entrepreneur Jo Wimble-Groves, who told Sky News that the recent lockdown could drive fundamental change in how people live and work.

A relaxation to the lockdown guidelines will soon see employers given the power to bring their employees back into the office. However, not all will be so eager to return to the ways of old – having seen first-hand the time saved on commuting, the additional family time they can enjoy and the improvements in productivity.

“Speeding up the future may have seemed impossible, but it has happened,” Wimble-Groves explains.

“Employers who have ignored requests for flexible working must now embrace the positives of these changes, which will impact the way we think about work in the years to come.”

She said that, although some people will relish the chance to return to the office environment, others will prefer to maintain their current situation. Those who prefer working from home are finding their regular screen breaks make them more productive, whilst the chance to get more exercise makes many much happier. This, of course, has physical as well as mental benefits.

To make this change not just permanent but effective as well, Wimble-Groves encourages companies to empower their workforce, so people feel more able to work remotely. By building trust between bosses and employees, she said, productivity can remain high.

The evidence from her own company seems to bear out her theory. The entrepreneur said that, thanks to a lack of office-based distractions and growing trust between employer and employee, efficiency at her business is higher, stress is down and morale has increased.

Wimble-Groves added that people needn’t feel distant when working remotely either. With a whole host of tools available to keep people in touch, teams can talk about everything via video call or instant messenger – be it information on the latest product roll out, or simply their favourite at-home fitness routine.

“Work is still getting done,” Wimble-Groves concluded, “just in different ways than before. Business as unusual has now become business as usual.”