UK Office Workers & COVID

UK Office Workers & COVID: Back to Work or Work from Home?

Many of the office workers in the UK are likely to have worked from home during the past couple of years in light of COVID.

Some have loathed it, but many have loved it - and it’s clear to see why.

No office politics or lengthy commutes to deal with, lower stress and better productivity are just some reasons why people love working from home. And the positives don’t end here. Many admit to being able to better manage distractions at home, better manage their time and also enjoy the company of their pets, which they miss when out at the office all day. On the other hand, some are keen to get back to the office, feeling they are able to participate better in meetings, socialise with colleagues and share knowledge more easily. Still, as many as one-third of people admit they would prefer to work from home, even if they had to give up as much as half their earnings! As you can see, remote working is generally the preferred choice.

But is it the only choice?

The answer is no - there's hybrid working too. Hybrid working is nothing new. In its simplest form, it refers to a combination of home and office working. However, as a result of COVID, other forms of hybrid working have become more popular. For example, due to social distancing, many teams have still utilised the benefits of being in the office, perhaps by arranging a split rota, so that not all personnel are sat in the same space at the same time. Many workplaces have also introduced a booking system. So, while employees have the option of working from home, they can book a desk at work when they need a change of scene or if they want to speak to their colleagues.

Could Hybrid & Remote Work Affect the Economy?

In some ways, it could, yes. After all, businesses like cafes, dry cleaners and sandwich shops will need their customers back soon. On the other hand, it seems many businesses are doing OK anyway, in spite of having reduced footfall. Unusually, some are even thriving! Take coffee shops for example. On the surface, it would appear they would be suffering when more people are working from home. The reality is that most are blossoming as a direct result. One study indicated that 70% of remote workers here in the UK work from a venue like a coffee shop at least once a week. People like the atmosphere and feeling connected with others while doing their work, which they don’t get at home. Working from a coffee shop has also impacted remote workers' motivation and productivity as a result. For other businesses like barbers, dry cleaners and sandwich shops, it has been a case of adapting to thrive. Indeed, these services are still needed, whether COVID restrictions are around or not. However, they have had to consider that more people are working remotely, and so have a change in routine, and may be unable to attend at certain times of the day due to things like Zoom meetings. Offering appointment bookings and deliveries are just a couple of changes made as a result. In other circumstances, businesses may have decided to relocate to take advantage of cheaper rents in lower footfall areas, while attracting custom in new ways. Public transport has been an exception to this. But as more people return to work, passenger numbers are slowly beginning to increase anyway.

With all This in Mind, what’s Your ‘New Normal’?

When we read about COVID on news sites, much of that information is likely to be based on what’s happening in London, rather than nationally. This doesn’t exactly inspire an accurate picture of the ‘new normal’ across the UK. Plus, this can vary massively from person to person anyway. You might not work in an office. In which case, the ‘new normal’ might never have applied to you anyway.

But if you are an office worker, chances are that you’re either working from home, in the office, or a combination of both (hybrid). You may even spend some time working in a cafe throughout your working week. However, you choose to work, it’s clear that most of us desire some level of home working, and hybrid working may be the best way to achieve that. Just remember to continue engaging with your local barber, dry cleaner, coffee shop, or wherever else you shop.

They need your support now more than ever!

Written by John Rigg

Source London Estates

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