Looking into 2022 it seems that the lasting legacy of the pandemic is the working from home culture – it’s thought that 60% of all employees will regularly work from home by 2022. One ‘Working from Home Survey’ suggested that one or two days in the office was a perfect balance, with 78% of respondents showing a preference for this option.
But is there such a thing as the perfect balance?
Since the start of the pandemic, the stigma attached to ‘working from home’ has dissipated. Millions of people had no choice but to switch to working from home full-time without an alternative option. For many businesses, this ‘new normal’ proved that people can be just as productive when they are at home and that this system can work.
One of the most consistently reported benefits of working from home is the ability to strike a better work/ life balance. The absence of long commutes at either side of the working day gives some employees extra hours each day that they would once have spent on the train or in the car.
A better work/life balance is thought to reduce stress and boost productivity levels. Not to mention the money that people can save – it’s thought during lockdown some commuters saved up to £300 a month.
However, for others, working from home has blurred the boundaries between their personal and working life, making it harder to find a work/life balance. Modern technology means that we are contactable 24/7 and it can be hard to fully “switch off”. Without ever being present in the office, there is a tendency to turn home into a constant office.
Setting a ‘physical’ barrier between work and home can help to prevent the two from bleeding into each other. However, not everyone has the space to make separate ‘working’ and ‘lounging’ areas. Getting some fresh air or a walk at lunchtime can also help those feeling claustrophobic when working from home.
A hybrid working style?
Young people are more likely to report a desire to return to working in an office environment, a recent Deloitte survey revealed that 58% of 16-34-year olds find working from home challenging. We cannot simply say goodbye to the office culture forever.
Perhaps flexible offices that allow a hybrid working style are the best way forward. Studies suggest that by 2023 35% of offices will be flexible in some way and there is a growing trend towards converting vacant retail space on UK high streets into modern flexible offices that are kitted out for hybrid working.
Sapience client Office Space in Town specialises in refurbishing buildings into the highest standard offices, aiming to create stimulating working environments for everyone who wants them.
There are some invaluable benefits to office working, especially when it comes to teamwork, creativity, spontaneous communication and collaborative brainstorming. Many people also miss the social side of the office and have reported an increase in loneliness since they shifted to working from home.
As the world deals with a new variant of COVID-19, there have been increasing calls for businesses to revert back to a full-time working from home strategy.
Therefore, it would seem that looking into 2022 we can expect to continue a hybrid style of working, taking advantage of the benefits of both working from home and going into the office.