Few would dispute that new mobile technology has enabled the rise of remote working, and fewer still would dispute that this has contributed to new patterns of flexibility; but how many people would prefer to work exclusively on a remote basis? Qdos Contractor, part of the Qdos Group, has asked this question to the people most dedicated to flexible working – freelancing and contracting professionals – and has found that just eight per cent of them would choose to work completely remotely.

The study by the leading tax advisory service for contracting professionals found that the majority of the 716 contractors surveyed prefer to divide their time between working onsite with clients and working remotely. This indicates that while they are independent professionals rather than employees, freelancing and contracting workers remain an important and visible presence in most of the establishments of the companies that hire them.

The survey revealed the following:

  • 67 per cent of the respondents prefer combining onsite work with remote work.
  • A quarter (25 per cent) prefer working exclusively onsite with clients.
  • Eight per cent prefer to work exclusively on a remote basis.

Acknowledging that technology has now liberated millions of independent workers by giving them a choice over where they work, Qdos Contractor CEO Seb Maley emphasised that profession and role may frequently determine where freelancing and contracting professionals are able to work from.

While remote working and the chance to work from home has undoubtedly grown in popularity, Mr Maley said, the study suggests that a significant majority of freelancers and contractors enjoy the mix of working alongside clients onsite and working remotely. This combination is their clear preference, dispelling the myth that engaging independent contracting professionals must result in a distant relationship with minimal face-to-face interaction and negligible onsite working.

He went on: “Independent workers are very much an important, not to mention visible, presence.

“People work this way for greater control over their career and a better work-life balance. What’s more, the UK business benefits from the evolving workforce, as together, freelancers and contractors contribute over £119bn to the economy each year. To enable the UK’s independent workforce to truly thrive, however, Government must rethink its stance on the current tax system and IR35, which is arguably reducing the benefits of self-employment.”

On the issue of IR35, Umbrella Company trade association PRISM called on the Government last month to rethink its stance on this legislation, as it contains incentives and protections for both recruiters and workers to seek out rogue providers offering high-return but non-compliant solutions. These providers would quickly fold when approached by HMRC rather than deliver the expected tax revenues.

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