While many companies are starting to open the doors of their offices once more, the majority of workers are reluctant to head back to the office permanently. Although most workplaces are currently asking employees to be in the office a few days a week, it seems that workers are not looking forward to a full return to normality.
A new survey has found that 78% of workers only want to be in the office for two days or less, even when they can be open full time again. However, almost a third (31%) have said they don’t want to spend any time in the office at all, showing that forced home working throughout the Covid-19 pandemic has provided some benefits.
While some employers may not be on board with a hybrid way of working or with permanent homeworkers, most of the UK’s top 50 biggest employers have seen the benefits too. Of these businesses, 43 have said that they are ready to embrace a mix of working from home and the office, with staff being encouraged to stay at home two or three days a week.
However, the work from home advice issued by the government could come to an end on July 19th, which could change how companies deal with current homeworkers.
How Many People Are Working From Home?
The last year has seen the number of people working from home more than double, with 8.4 million people, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS) completing duties at home at some point in the week. That is 25.9% of the people ONS spoke to (which didn’t include those on furlough), compared to 12.4% in 2019.
The trend for home working seems to be higher in cities, with 46.4% of people employed in London working from home at some point in 2020.
What Are the Benefits Of Working From Home?
While permanent, full-time home working is going to be less common, hybrid working – where people work from home and the office during the week – looks set to become the new normal. This is because so many people have seen the benefits that working from home brings.
The biggest benefit, with 68% saying this is the case, is the lack of commute. People haven’t missed long drives or dealing with packed public transport – both of which add extra hours to the workday – and don’t want to have to go back to commuting every day.
Flexibility in terms of hours is also a big plus, as cited by 63% of respondents, with working from home allowing flexibility in terms of childcare, looking after pets and spending more time with family. A further 55% are also enjoying the lack of shirts and ties, embracing the casual dress code that working from home allows.
Perhaps most importantly – especially where employers are concerned – is the fact that almost a third (32%) have enjoyed increased productivity as they have not had to deal with the typical office distractions.
The Downsides Of Working From Home
While there are many benefits to working from home, many people have encountered some negative aspects too.
Almost two-fifths (37%) have experienced worsened physical health since working from home, with weight gain being a common complaint. However, many people are also seeing their mental health suffer, with 40% saying this is the case since starting to work from home. This is likely connected to the fact that 37% find it difficult to wind down after a day of working from home due to the lack of work-home divide.
Many people are missing the social aspect of being in the office too. Of those who want to go back to the office in some way (whether part or full-time), 83% say they miss social interaction during the workday.
Another big downside is that many people do not have a great place to work at home. A third (33%) of workers have admitted that their working from stations are not suitable for permanent home working. In fact, The Global Working From Home Survey has found that UK workers do not feel like they have the right equipment at home.
Creating A Comfortable Home Office
From no or unsuitable desks to uncomfortable chairs and the inability to control workspace temperature effectively, there are a lot of things that impact your comfort when working from home.
With hybrid and full-time home working becoming much more common, investing in your home to create a good space to work is important. Not only can being uncomfortable affect your productivity, but it can also lead to physical pain and illness. This doesn’t just mean you need a suitable desk, chair and computer equipment though.
Your company office will come with many amenities you may not have considered but that do help with your comfort. Air conditioning is one of those. Being able to maintain a comfortable temperature can help you stay focused, while air conditioning systems also help to purify the air reducing your risk of illness.