As the world slowly but surely returns to normal, with millions of people enjoying the revival of festivals and holidays this summer, and the end to ‘bubbles’ when schools return this month, the question of whether home or office working is best remains high on the agenda of employees and employers alike.
The pandemic has had a monumental impact on our relationship with work and our workplaces. Managers that had never broached the subject of flexible working before had no choice but to innovate and modernise, equipping staff with laptops, using systems such as Microsoft Teams for the first time, and attempting to steady the ship of their companies during what has been, for many, a stressful and difficult time.
For some, it proved a success. There are numerous benefits to working from home; no daily commute, less money spent on expensive lunches and coffees, less interruption from colleagues, and a better work/life balance, with people better able to fit their personal lives around their work.
But there are downsides too.
Home-working can be isolating, particularly for those who live by themselves, and it can be difficult to maintain team spirit and morale when you can’t bounce ideas off one another in the same room. Going into the office provides a clear distinction between ‘work’ and ‘home’, whereas home-working can make it difficult to switch off, with the laptop staying open and emails being answered way into evening.
But which is best?
A recent LinkedIn poll by Austen Lloyd Consultant asked people “Given the choice, would you work from home full-time?” Out of the 255 people who voted, 17% said No, 40% said Yes, and 43% said that they would like a 50/50 split.
This thinking is reflected in other research; the World Economic Forum have reported that two-thirds of people around the world want to work flexibly when the pandemic is over, and almost a third of people would be prepared to quit their job if their boss made them go back to the office full-time.
It is clear that the pandemic has completely overhauled the way we work, and also revolutionised what people want from their employers and the companies they work for. Human contact and building relationships in real life is crucial to any business, but just as important is flexibility and an understanding from managers’ of what employees will be looking for and expecting in their next role and the roles they will be seeking in the years to come