Could Working From Home Be Here to Stay?
By Dan Lloyd
Vario Account Executive Dan Lloyd asks whether working from home will be more widely accepted post pandemic.
In these unprecedented times, a lot of workers are getting to grips with working from home for the first time (see our recent blog article for tips on working from home effectively). Working practices have changed fundamentally over the course of the last few months, and perhaps for good. Even prior to the COVID-19 enforced restrictions, there has been a rising trend of people working predominantly from home. According to the Office of National Statistics of the 32.6 million people in employment (between January and December 2019), 1.7 million people reported working mainly from home. This figure represents just over 5% of the total workforce and increase from around 4% in January 2015.
The increase in remote working would suggest that the days of employers equating a work-from-home day to a ‘day off’ have long passed in most industries. The question is now whether the pendulum has fundamentally shifted and workers are actually proving themselves to be more productive when working remotely? To provide some credence to this question, it could be argued that distractions arise more frequently in an office environment rather than a home based set-up. For example, the background noise of an open-plan office set-up could represent a frequent issue to those whose work requires sustained periods of intense concentration. Of course, not everybody has the luxury of a dedicated space that can be used solely for the purposes of work, but it is perhaps easier to identify a quiet space, free from distraction, in the setting of one’s home rather than the busy, often noisy, office floor.
A historic common concern amongst employers has been that communication between colleagues and co-workers would suffer as a result of homeworking. Advancements in technology and the utilisation of video calling software such as Zoom, Microsoft Teams and Cisco WebEx has meant that keeping in touch with colleagues, whether that be for pure business purposes or from a softer social perspective, has never been easier. Communication has never been more important than in the present time and this type of technology has certainly demonstrated its value in recent times.
When the lockdown measures are eventually lifted, it will become clear as to whether general attitudes towards remote working become more widespread in sectors and industries that have not traditionally embraced the notion. In the meantime, as the world continues to conduct its business on a virtual basis, the virtues of home working continue to speak for themselves.
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