In the UK we’ve experienced a dramatic switch to home working and the Government telling us that work from home, where it is possible..
I wonder if this is now the “new normal’. Could this be true ?
Our research have identified reasons for home and office working. If I was to sum up. I would say a combined approach seems a suitable and likely outcome for many.
So, here goes my evidence for “Home” & “Office” working.
The case for working from home (WFH).
Productivity: WFH does not appear, for most, to reduce productivity. People have felt that they have been really focused and productive. If anything they are doing more as they are less distracted by office politics/banter.
Being brave: The use of many video platforms for conducting meetings has been a real positive. Most have said they have felt more willing to contribute to the meeting conversation when using an online video platform.
Networking: Online networking on social media platforms have spiked, encouraging people to reach out to more new people within their community. This is across all generations but perhaps less so for the “seasoned pro” however, responses back have been positive and welcomed.
Health & Well-being: From a mental health perspective, some employees have set themselves daily exercise activities to get through the loneliness and monotony of WFH. This has helped with their positivity throughout the day and their overall focus.
Quiz time: Many businesses have engaged their staff in a weekly online quiz or activity in an effort to boost morale and get everyone together. Typically this has taken place on a fixed day and time of the week, most have felt this has been a good and fun way to connect with everyone.
The case for an office
Impromptu conversations: Human interaction is important! So much comes from an “off the cuff chat” whether to bounce an idea off a member of the team or just to have a chat about things outside of work. These are harder to replicate online and are sorely missed.
Boundaries: Having a routine and discipline of going to the office is underestimated and important. Setting your alarm clock , getting up, having a shower, putting on your business attire and catching that train or jumping in your car at the same time every morning gives structure to your day. Even stopping by your local coffee shop for that caffeine and having a chit chat with the barista! Having a routine and separating work and home environment does wonders for our overall health and motivation.
Home environment: Not everyone can work from home, they may not have the space and they may not be comfortable. In turn meaning productivity drops. How many employees in big cities rent a room and have a shared kitchen amongst their house mates?
One thing is for sure, It’s essential to keep communicating with the team as guidelines and rules need to be adapted in this ever changing landscape.
Ask the team about their preferred work location before making decisions. Whilst feedback confirms that staff would like a base/HQ, it is worth considering where that office space should be? Do you still need a huge city office or do smaller, more regionally based hubs now make more sense?