Before the Covid-19 pandemic, the idea of flexible working was still a largely untested theory. However, several national lockdowns later, the majority of office workers and their employers have discovered how flexible alternative work arrangements can be. Office work in the near future is predicted to be a type of hybrid where workers divide their schedules between their headquarters and their own home offices.
There are many ways that the Covid-19 pandemic has changed the future of work for people all around the world. Many offices who started remote working at home may never go back to the office as employees are finding it much more flexible and productive to be at home rather than in the office.
Increased productivity in the workforce
One surprising fact that has emerged during Covid-19 is that productivity has actually increased. In spite of fears about continual interruptions at home, many office workers feel they are able to concentrate more intensely on their projects. Many have seen working from home as a new challenge compared to their usual routines.
Remote workers have been able to set up their own efficient and ergonomic home workspaces so that they are comfortable and able to concentrate and work just as they would if they were in the normal office.
Comfortable furniture is an important factor of both offices and home working as discomfort can lead to an increase in back pain, posture problems, and headaches. When business owners are choosing office furniture, they need to consider the impact that their purchases will have on their workforce.
While office furniture should be stylish, it also needs to be comfortable and appropriate enough for employees. As Southern Office Furniture highlights in their guide, it’s important to consider ergonomics and employee physical health as well as the aesthetics of the office.
The value of flexibility for parents
Flexibility is often a priority for those who strive to combine work with a busy family life. Having to turn up late at the office through an unexpected crisis, such as an unwell child or a sudden lack of childcare support, is an all too familiar scenario.
A hybrid work schedule can help busy parents to manage their childcare arrangements much more successfully. Being required to work from an employer’s office for only part of the week is sure to ease their burden of commitments.
Whether workers have to juggle childcare responsibilities with work commitments or not, it’s vital that all employees feel like they are listened to and have the opportunity to voice concerns, share ideas, and ask questions.
Highlighted in an article from HR News, there are many ways that businesses can work to improve company culture in a hybrid working world. Fostering psychological safety and also getting employee insights are valuable to help employers improve the workplace culture.
Ensuring efficient colleague collaboration
Working remotely every week can have its limitations regarding projects that rely on collaborating closely with colleagues. There might be some projects or training that cannot be delivered online or are most effectively done through face-to-face communication.
In the future, there could be set days of the week for members of a team to go into the office to work on a task together. Employees or managers can also take advantage of a quiet office to hold important phone calls or get more work done.
The rest of the time, there are a range of useful tools and technology that can help foster virtual communication instead. Whether it’s to communicate with teams or manage projects and tasks, there are plenty of collaboration tools for productive teams that people have been using while remote working for a long time. With a flexible schedule that blends working at home with days spent in the main office, joint ventures can easily move forward.
Providing a welcome break for the entire office
Flexible working provides workers with a break from the stresses involved in the usual daily commute. Many workers might have to face the stress of traffic, catching a train or bus, or dropping children off at school. By reducing the number of days spent in the office, it frees up worker’s time to have a more relaxed start to their workday. Many may look forward to their workdays at home where they feel they can be more relaxed and productive for the entire day.
Working remotely comes with many advantages such as being more productive, avoiding office distractions, and being able to cut out the commute. But it also comes with disadvantages too. Some workers might feel isolated working from home all the time and might feel under pressure from too many work demands.
Workers working from their own homes might also feel like they cannot separate their work life and their personal life. However, with a hybrid working model, employees can still come into the office to socialise with others or speak to their manager to avoid the isolation of working from home.
Cutting expenditure and adapting work routines for personal preference
Since lockdown began, many businesses and employees have been able to cut their costs while companies operate from home. Businesses have been able to cut costs on office electricity, water, and office resources while employees have saved on petrol, coffees to go, and work lunches. It’s also allowed some companies to also recruit more remote workers to their workforce. Many jobseekers value workplace perks and one of the most valued ones is flexible working arrangements.
As lockdown starts to ease in the UK, it’s uncertain what the future will hold for office work. Some businesses are eager to get their workers back in the office while others are now reconsidering their work setup as employees are happier with the work-life balance at home.
As there is division between those that enjoy remote working and those that do not, introducing a flexible work model could help bridge the gap and ensure that everyone has the opportunity to work in the environment that they think is best for them.
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