By Patrick Crowder
Now that restrictions are lifting, hopefully for the last time, there are mixed feelings about returning to work. Some are looking forward to it, some are concerned about catching Covid, and others simply don’t see the point. For those who crave the structure that a traditional office provides, that should always remain an option. But for those who dread the idea of getting back to their morning commutes, increased flexibility in the workplace is essential.
Research from the global workplace specialists at Instant Offices shows that 90 per cent of office workers “want more flexibility in where and when they do their jobs”. That doesn’t come as much of a surprise – who wouldn’t want to choose their own hours and work from anywhere? Now that people have seen that their jobs can be done effectively from home, it will be difficult to return to rigid office hours without good reason.
According to Instant Offices, 44 per cent of people looking for work are refusing positions that do not offer sufficient flexibility. This means that some workplaces may need to shift to at least a mixed home/office approach in order to employ enough qualified professionals to operate.
Not everyone is going to want to work from home. It can be particularly difficult for parents of young children to have a distraction-free home office. Space is always an issue, especially in big cities such as London where young professionals often live in smaller accommodation.
Others enjoy the structure and feeling of community an office provides and feel that they work better in an environment of like-minded people. Some even enjoy their commutes as the back-and-forth bookends the work day allowing them time to leave their work life at work and home life at home.
We know that working from home is a more comfortable solution for some people, and happy employees are generally more motivated and productive than one unhappy with their working situation. On top of that, Instant Offices’ research shows that 41 per cent of office workers believe that they are not only as productive, but more productive from home than they are in an office.
People will always work to their full potential in different ways, and that’s a good thing. Giving employees the option to work from home if they choose does not mean that nobody will come into the office to run the ship. Instead, companies will be able to reduce the size of their offices saving their employees time and themselves lease money.
Companies must realise that people are unique in the ways that they get things done, and when everyone is forced to follow the same format, there will be a dip in productivity. Now that working from home has become normalised to a degree, a rigid return to the ways of old will only anger current employees and drive away potential new ones. There will always be a place for the traditional office, but it is time to allow the people who enjoy the WFH life to work to their full potentials.
For more on the Instant Offices research go to: https://www.instantoffices.com/en/gb