There’s a lot of chatter over how important flexible working will be in the post-pandemic landscape. Sure, workers are returning to the office en masse as Covid-19 restrictions are rolled back.
But I for one think that evolving employee expectations means that remote working practices are set to boom.
US tech giants Microsoft, Facebook and Amazon have all announced plans to introduce more flexible work practices in recent weeks. A slew of FTSE 100 companies, from banking colossus Lloyds and oil major BP to life insurer Aviva, are among a huge number of multinational businesses offering their staff a mix of office and home working.
It’s not just the world’s blue-chips that are taking a scythe to their office-dominated work ethos either. A YouGov survey revealed that only 20% of UK employers will demand their workers come into the office five days a week in future.
Investing for the remote working revolution
This move to more flexible working could well prove temporary if companies decide that productivity is suffering, or that worker morale is taking a hit.
That said, many remain convinced this sea change in working practices is here to stay. This week, UK business secretary Kwasi Kwarteng, for instance, claimed that flexible working is “here to stay.”
There are plenty of top UK shares that stand to gain from the rise of flexible working. FTSE 100 retail share JD Sports Fashion, a market leader in the athleisure clothing segment, has seen demand for its products boom. That has come as people ditch formal workwear at home in favour of more comfortable clothes.
FTSE 250 workspace provider IWG is also benefiting from the growth of hybrid working, as today’s latest trading statement shows.
Perhaps the most obvious UK and US shares to buy are tech stocks which allow workers to remain connected. Video conferencing specialist Zoom, chat provider Slack and file-sharing specialist Dropbox are a few US shares I’d buy to ride this theme.
A ‘nearly’ penny stock I’d buy
IT services provider Redcentric (LSE: RCN) is a UK share you might not have heard of. But this ‘nearly’ penny stock is one whose wide range of services I think should balloon in popularity as flexible working takes off.
Redcentric provides network and cloud computing software which allow workers to set up base away from the office. Meanwhile, its cyber security solutions help companies tackle the elevated threat of hacking that comes with remote working.
This explains why, even in spite of a global recession, revenues rose 4.5% in the financial year ending March. I expect demand for its IT consultancy service to continue growing too as firms try to remain agile and protected.
Now, Redcentric is tiny compared to almost all its US rivals. It trades at 130p per share and has a market-cap of just £203m. But while it lacks the clout of other industry players I’m confident it can still deliver good returns as the remote working phenomenon escalates.