A year ago, if you’d asked people if their employers were flexible around homeworking, many would have said no. From fears around productivity to lack of control, there were many reasons companies were reluctant to let their workers stray too far from the office. Of course, this all changed when the pandemic hit, with the portion of home workers rising from 4.7% in 2019 to 43.1% by April 2020.
Despite the previous reluctance, after being forced to allow employees to work from home, many companies found the transition to be successful and the benefits have been more far-reaching than they initially anticipated.
According to The Economist, only 6% of people want to return to full time office working in the future, so it looks like home working is here to stay. Some would say, given the sophistication of modern technology, this has been long overdue. But what does that mean for those affected?
Whether it’s a full or partial change, here’s what you need to remember – both the good and the challenging – about home working as we *finally* move into 2021.
It’s bringing out the best in employees
Despite previous fears, it’s been proved that people can be trusted to get their work done from home – even with the likes of Netflix nearby ready to lure them into a state of procrastination. Despite the mental toll of 2020, one survey found that productivity has actually increased by 47% - probably due to the fact that it allows people to be more flexible and enjoy a better work-life balance.
…But communication and mental health could suffer
Most would probably agree that whilst video conferencing platforms such as Microsoft Teams and Zoom have been lifesaving this year, they’d be happy to see the back of these in 2021. With more people working from home more of the time, employers will need to work hard to ensure communication is easy and glitch-free. With many home workers reporting feelings of isolation, there’s also a need for businesses to ensure the social aspect of work remains intact.
People can live where they like
Many businesses are working on new office structures, leaning towards the idea of having smaller ‘hubs’ that people can drop into just once or twice a week. Without such strong ties to city centre locations, people will have more flexibly to live where they like. Gone are the days of needing to be within walking distance of a transport link – with flexible working, more people will be looking to live further away from the city, gaining the benefits of both quiet and cosmopolitan living.
…But employers will need to be ready
Not all home working environments are created equal. The biggest challenge for companies moving forward will be to ensure employees have access to the correct home office equipment. Without it, the risks of work-related injury complaints are high. Working from the kitchen table or couch isn’t going to cut it moving forward, so employers need to be aware of their liability for looking after the health and safety of their staff. Thankfully, curatd. is here to help – offering assistance with everything from DSE assessments to choosing the furniture for your team’s specific requirements.
Want to know more about how curatd. can help with your working from home needs? Take a look here.