Coronavirus will 'change attitudes' about working from home
The Covid-19 coronavirus has forced millions of people around the UK and the world to start working from home.
Whilst some have braved the commute to work and continue to trudge around town, the number of home workers in the UK has jumped from 2.66 million to around 15 to 20 million people in the last few weeks.
Whilst this has been an adjustment for many, others are coming around to the routine of getting up and working from home – and this is something that may last few several more weeks and months.
Although working from home has often been seen as a second choice for many, lacking the legitimacy of working in an office or simply an option for working parents, attitudes are starting to change and the world is opening its eyes to the role of working from home, professionally known as ‘teleworking.’
People are working fuller days
People talking on social media have acknowledged their ability to have fuller days by not having to commute – something that the average Londoner does for around 2 hours and 17 minutes per day.
Others have noted the lack of distractions in the office, such as small talk with colleagues, unnecessary meetings and the time taken to get comfortable at work.
The role of fewer face-to-face meetings has meant fewer journeys and less time taken up each day, with workers opting for video conferencing instead.
Also, many have commended the availability of staff members to respond to emails, more so than ever. With no commuting, no meetings and fewer office distractions, more people are able to respond to emails and stay on top of their inbox than ever before. Plus, the ability to get hold of senior members of staff has never been better.
Adjusting to new technologies
Whilst video conferencing is the norm for most office businesses, this has now become essential for all types of companies and has forced people to get to grips with the likes of Google Hangouts, Zoom and other screen-sharing devices.
From teachers needing to educate children from home, priests giving sermons to their congregations and fitness instructors giving online gym classes – everyone has had to adjust to new technology and no doubt they will continue to benefit from its uses and functions once the coronavirus saga ends.
Nic Redfern of Know Your Money commented: "As the coronavirus forces more people to work remotely, communicating has never been more important. While apps like Slack and Trello are used by many businesses in their day-to-day operations, they become even more significant for teams working remotely as they keep individuals connected and focused on the same goal.
Businesses can adapt further to remote working by encouraging employees to communicate via video-calls and screen-sharing apps. These are invaluable for replacing meetings and enabling employees to collaborate on projects, as well as relieving some of the loneliness that people can feel when they work from home."
Could this be more cost-effective for firms?
For many firms, having staff working from home could present a huge saving on office space and resources.
With the average office space in London costing £650 to £1,500 per person, per month – the option to have smaller offices and encourage people to work remotely could save large companies thousands of pounds per month.
This approach has already been adopted by Tesco’s head office in North London, which offers an open space working environment (not fixed desks), giving staff the option to work from home if they would like to.
Boundaries still needed
However, for some workers, the result of working from home has not exactly been easy-going.
Some struggle to break between work life and home life and find distractions in looking after children or being isolated from the outside world.
For households with small children or those where couples work in close proximity, the role of boundaries is very important, or the ability to be more productive from home can have the reverse effect.
Home workers are encouraged to find their own formula such as getting dressed for work, turning off phones, working in separate rooms and taking a forced break every couple of hours.