In just a few weeks the coronavirus pandemic turned the working world on its head. All but essential workers were effectively forced to work from home as businesses pivoted to remote working.

And, with restrictions and falling consumer confidence knocking demand, certain sectors have been operating at reduced capacity, leading to a rise in part-time working as well.

In July, the government responded by extending its Job Retention Scheme to allow businesses to bring furloughed employees back to work on a part-time basis. The scheme was a success, giving workers and employers the flexibility they needed at the time, and supported over nine million jobs in total. More recently, the Chancellor announced a new Jobs Support Scheme, which will see the government support the wages of people working part-time from November.

These measures have proved popular so far and are likely to see significant uptake again when the latest iteration is rolled out next month. Promisingly, this suggests a growing acceptance of a new way of working, with part-time and flexible working becoming more in-demand and more common. Despite the negative consequences of the pandemic, some positive changes to the way we work have materialised and will hopefully last into the future.

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