2020 was a year to remember for more reasons than one, with millions of us being forced to work from home (WFH) to stop the spread of coronavirus. Offices were deserted, high streets up and down the country were ghost towns and business had to quickly adapt to their employees working from home. This brought a range of challenges which most companies were able to overcome with decent internet connection for those able to carry on their job from home, however companies large and small will have seen the effect such action has had on their business, raising lots of questions.
Can the work be done more effectively from home? Does the office dynamic of people buzzing around their desks mean greater productivity? How can I be sure that my employees are actually working? Should we hold daily video calls for the workforce?
Some employers have welcomed the push that coronavirus provided to make their workplaces more flexible, with many feeling that it was something they’d like to do but needed the right motivation. Others have done so reluctantly, knowing that the usual routine has been abolished and desperately trying to restore order with much of the team now working from the comfort of their own home. This raises the overall question of how long WFH is going to continue for, and will it ever return to normal?
The first point to note is that WFH is largely reliant on government guidance about going into the office, and whether business are classified as essential. For the most part, businesses working in providing services which benefit other businesses, B2Bs, are not strictly essential when compared to those working in food supply chains, hospitals and the postal service.
But the government realises that everyone needs to be able to support themselves financially in whatever industry they’ve trained in, and furlough cannot continue indefinitely. If your business has been classified as non-essential, the internet and cloud services do provide the much needed infrastructure to be able to continue as normal in a way that does not compromise public health.
This is welcomed by employers who know that although the business sector as a whole has taken a hit, that there is still work to be done and money to be made by others in the same boat, not forgetting that this situation is global. Closing down a business when there is potential to carry on trading is not something any business wants to do, however when there are compromises to be made the right thing has to be done whether you agree with the strict measures or not.
WFH has taken off in a big way in the past 12 months, with businesses preparing for the long haul and taking steps to ensure the continuation of business during the pandemic. Some companies have given their employees grants to buy desks, chairs, computer equipment and much more to set up their own home offices.
This shows that a WFH lifestyle is becoming the norm in a number of sectors, but we also need to consider how employees feel about this new change. Whilst many have embraced the WFH change and knuckled down, giving reports of increased productivity, lower outgoings and more family time – a great deal more are itching to get back to their stable 9-5. Companies need to consider the overall needs of their business with an eye to employee satisfaction.
All the provisions can be made for WFH, but if employees are not able to do their work properly from home then this is something that needs to be accounted for in long-term business plans.
Nobody knows how long the current situation will last for, we believed it was a few weeks to flatten the curve, however one year on and now into our third lockdown, the future of WFH does look to be a trend that is here to stay throughout 2021 at least.Back to NewsJob Search