Back in early 2020, work-from-home policies might have largely been mandated on a ‘make-do’ basis to limit the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact. However, more than two years later, the work-from-home (WFH) life appears to have taken on… well, a life of its own.
In the UK alone, roughly a third of the working population is continuing to work from home. The BigIssue reports that, while 4.7 million people in the UK identified themselves as home workers in late 2019, this figure has since increased to 9.9 million.
Nonetheless, it remains unclear whether WFH remains a mere stopgap or instead the shape of things to come, given contrasting views that have been expressed about the practice.
Why are many people still working from home?
Dr Amanda Jones, a lecturer in HR at King’s College London, had this to say about the above-mentioned research findings: “I think many people are surprised by this — but actually, our research indicates that in London it’s more like six in 10 that are still working from home.”
After remarking that high numbers of people elsewhere in the world are also still working remotely, she noted: “Organizations are now less likely to offer a job for life, so employees are less willing to compromise their own goals, health, and wellbeing to acquiesce to their demands.”
Not everyone is on board with working from home
High-profile politicians, including the UK’s own Boris Johnson, have urged workers to return to physical offices. Johnson has claimed that, in an in-person work setting, staff are “more productive, more energetic, more full of ideas.”
Some business leaders have also taken issue with the idea of employees continuing to work from home. Sir Alan Sugar has branded home workers “workshy” and “entitled”, while Tesla boss Elon Musk has said that staff at his company should quit if they won’t return to the office.
Does working from home affect productivity?
While it is difficult to draw hard and fast conclusions about this, NewsLetter cites some particularly enlightening research findings. These include that, in one survey, 34% of workers deemed themselves more productive at home than in a traditional office.
In contrast, just 19% of respondents in the same survey said that they worked more productively in the latter. However, it turned out that workers placed an especially strong emphasis on flexibility, with just 13% of the research participants wanting to work from home all the time.
It was found that 34% longed to work from home three quarters of the time, while 22% favored doing so half of the time and 25% would prefer WFH just one or two days a week.
How could you adapt to flexible working?
As WFH’s popularity appears to be in flux, you could start using tools that would let you seamlessly transition many of your working practices between home and the office.
You could, for instance, hold meetings via a webinar platform. So, what is a webinar platform? A good provider of one should be able to give you an easy-to-follow answer.