Did working from home win over the work force?
There is no doubt that working from home has recently been having a moment. During the COVID-19 lockdown many businesses were forced to switch, almost overnight, to a structure of working from home that kept employees out of the office for months. It was an eye opening experience for many and certainly highlighted that it is in fact possible for many enterprises to operate on a more flexible model when it comes to daily working practices. However, did it win over the workforce as a whole?
The work-life balance question
Working from home certainly appears to make it easier to balance other areas of your life, especially when you factor in how much more time you are able to spend at home. However, over the past couple of months it’s become obvious that this has also started to mean a blurring of the lines of “work” and “home” for many people that might now be having a negative impact on work-life balance. How do you shut off at the end of the day when your desk is right there? Some employees have found themselves working longer days and the lack of commute has also resulted in a more sedentary lifestyle that means weight gain and less exercise.
The impact on productivity
It very much depends on the individual but for many people productivity takes a dive when it comes to working from home. Factors such as proximity and social accountability can have a big impact on ensuring that productivity remains high and these don’t exist in a working from home environment. People also tend to work harder when they are surrounded by others who are working hard and that kind of effect is lost outside of an office. Being less productive can feel hard for individuals and many may not understand why they feel so demotivated outside of the office.
Working from home and cost efficiency
It’s possible for businesses to save on overheads by switching to a working from home model. However, this doesn’t always impact positively on efficiency overall. Many studies reveal that efficiency takes a hit when people are working from home, often because they are tackling cramped workspaces and potentially noisy conditions. Staff turnover may rise under working from home conditions, generating more additional costs. So, although there may be structural savings to working from home for some businesses, the consequent impact on efficiency means these may be lost.
Has the novelty worn off?
Many enthusiastically embraced working from home when it was first tested out at the start of lockdown. Being able to avoid a commute, take meetings in your PJs (from the waist down) and be around your loved ones all day every day may initially have felt like a huge bonus. But for a lot of people the appeal of this has now started to wear off. “Zoom fatigue” is officially a thing and we are beginning to feel the absence of real interactions with colleagues which might be why 90% already want to work from an office once again.
Working from home may have initially been welcomed by many but the novelty of this may already be starting to wear off with a return to the office a welcome change. Offices need to adapt not close, check out some of our office fit outs.