Could Working From Home Become the New Norm in the Post-Pandemic World
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many companies have had to adjust by making their employees work from home. The Office of National Statistics stated that in April 2020 46.6% of those in employment in the UK did some work from home, with 86% of these people doing so because of the COVID-19 pandemic. With such a large proportion of people working from home and continuing to do so, could we see a shift to predominantly remote working environment in the future?
Working from home has many advantages over working in the office which might mean that companies make the shift to remote working post-pandemic.
Employee morale is something that can be greatly enhanced, as their work environment will suit them more, and allow them to be more relaxed when working. Morale is also increased because they can work flexible hours, meaning that they can work around their personal schedule, resulting in an improved work/life balance.
The commute to and from work can be a real soul destroyer for employees, with many spending up to three hours commuting to and from the office. Working from home means that the commute is cut out which can, not only help boost morale, but will also allow employees to save money on petrol and public transport.
Thanks to higher levels of morale, employee productivity is increased. A Stanford study revealed that working from home led to a 13% increase in employee productivity, which equates to almost an extra day of output per week. This is also achieved by employees being able to be connected to the office 24 hours a day thanks to the internet, and time saved from pointless meetings in the office.
A huge perk for the company is that they can save on office space, as working from home means that no office space is needed, or less space if the company is semi-remote. This means that the company can save a huge sum of money on rent and office supplies.
There are also potential downsides of working from home. For example, some employees enjoy the social aspect of being in the office, and therefore struggle when they have to work from home as they suffer from boredom and loneliness, which can affect their morale and productivity. They can also struggle adapting to the different energy working from home provides, and therefore work more slowly.
Waiting for an answer to an important question which will impact what you are doing can also be a problem with working from home, as in the office can go over to that person’s desk and simply ask, but when working from home, it can often take up to a day to get a response to an email or a colleague to call you back.
All in all, there is a lot to take into account in deciding whether or not to continue working from home after the pandemic is over. For some employees it will benefit them as their morale and productivity will increase as a result of it, but for others, the opposite effect could occur. A mix between working from the office and working from home could be a balance which could potentially benefit all employees, as they will not have to commute every day and they can work in an environment that suits them, as well as allowing for them to still have the social aspect of work so employees who work better in the office can still be productive.