Conventional wisdom has for many years suggested that the office plays a key role in the success of a business. Companies have fought over prime office space under the belief that this helps to attract top talent, foster an inclusive work environment, and boost employee productivity. However, the global coronavirus pandemic that hit the world at the start of 2020 has altered working practices for millions of people around the globe.
Large swathes of people in countries everywhere who formerly travelled to an office to perform their work have been working from home, utilising technology for communication and undertaking their duties in a very different way. Studies over the past year have shown that working from home is not necessarily something which has a negative effect on productivity, and many have posited that we could see a future work environment that looks very different.
One survey from McKinsey found that as many as 80% of people enjoy working from home. The same research discovered that more than half of all respondents believed they were more productive or equally productive when working from home as they were in the office.
Many employees feel liberated by the release from the daily commute and better able to strike a productive work-life balance when working from home. The greater flexibility afforded to home workers could also be the key component in a future that is more diverse and level in terms of gender equality. Modern technologies make it possible for almost all interactions that would formerly have taken place in the office to be managed digitally, removing barriers to home working.
Furniture At Work stocks a comprehensive range of office chairs and other home office furniture designed to make the work from home experience as comfortable and productive as working in the office.
Business managers and other employers are also seeing a range of potential benefits when all or part of the workforce works remotely from home. Businesses can access a wider pool of talent when seeking new employees as there are virtually no geographical restrictions.
In the future, real estate costs could be significantly reduced if companies are not competing to secure office space in prime locations. Many companies have been pushed into adopting new technologies to facilitate home working, yet these are technologies that can have a lasting positive impact on the future of the business.
Socialisation and Corporate Culture
Two areas of concern for many businesses looking forward to a future where a large percentage of the workforce works from home – either all or part of the time – are socialisation and corporate culture. When people work from home, despite the many technologies available for communication, they can become increasingly isolated.
Physical interaction plays a key role in relationship-building, and career progression tools such as mentorship are much harder to implement online than they are face-to-face. Some businesses are also concerned that it will be much harder to build and sustain a corporate culture when employees are not physically present in the same building.
Whatever the corporate future looks like, in the UK at least, we are looking at several more weeks of working from home where possible, if not months. With the pandemic still raging, people are settling into their home offices for the short-term.
It remains to be seen whether home working will remain an important and sustainable part of rebuilding businesses in the future. For now, Furniture At Work can help everyone to ensure their current home working environment suits their needs.