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Manufacturers face uphill struggle with remote working

Engineering and manufacturing companies are among the least prepared for dealing with remote and flexible working during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to new research.

Workforce management solutions firm Mitrefinch analysed thousands of online employee reviews for the biggest employers across a range of sectors in 20 UK cities, to see how much choice they were offering staff in terms of remote and flexible working before lockdown.

Since the lockdown began in March, the government has recommended that all employees work from home where possible.

After applying a scoring system to the data, Mitrefinch ranked manufacturing and engineering 11th and 12th respectively out of a total of 14 sectors, suggesting that these sectors have faced the biggest challenges in adapting their working practices during the COVID-19 pandemic. Only the retail and construction sectors scored lower.

The low scores for manufacturing likely reflects the traditional ‘hands-on’ requirements of many job roles and the prevalence of shift work in plants and factories.

Mita Patel, Product & Development Director at Mitrefinch, said:

“The difficulty with the manufacturing industry lies in the traditional nature of [job] roles. Certain tasks can be challenging to perform remotely which leaves these industries falling behind as others make the shift to remote working. 

“However, although surprising to many, there are many manufacturing jobs that can be done remotely. For instance; many administrative tasks can be offloaded to allow managers to use time on site more productively. We are expecting to see a shift like this in these sectors over the next few months.”


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