The labour market has been hugely affected by the COVID pandemic. Many of us have had to adjust ways of working significantly as offices temporarily closed and working from home was enforced. But as the pandemic comes to an end, what happens next? What lessons have employers learnt from this shift to homeworking and will we all eventually head back to the office, or continue to work from home more?
Although this shift wasn’t planned for, it has provided many businesses with a useful “trial run” period and there now seems to be a rise in willingness for employers to reassess their flexible working offering longer term. Hopefully this will be beneficial for many employees and will help to support work – life balance, reduce time and cost of commutes and employees will have less distractions. Productivity can be maintained or increased providing there is the right support, collaboration and technology in place
In April 2021, the CIPD published a report with the findings of an 8 month employer survey – Flexible working: lessons from the pandemic (CIPD, 2021).
The study found that 63% of participants said they planned to introduce or increase hybrid working combining homeworking and office working. The surveys key findings included both positive and negative factors.
Homeworking was more productive for some employees because of fewer distractions and work intensification and avoiding a commute was a big plus for employees However team relationships and knowledge sharing can potentially suffer which can also affect innovation, some workers may feel socially isolated and work-life boundaries need to be managed.
Tips to support your employees when working from home