Over the course of the last several months, our lives have been turned upside down by COVID-19. Globally, people are beginning to fall into line, donning their face-masks in public and using hand sanitiser overzealously on a daily basis.
While these measures are likely to be in place for a period, the most lasting change to our professional lives is set to stay; the increased reliance on flexible working. Office space is one of the biggest fixed costs for employers of the professional workforce. Forcing the majority of employees to stay at home and adapt this year is inevitably going to have a lasting impact.
Working from home offers huge benefits to the personal wellbeing of employees. By remote working, employees can kiss goodbye to their morning commute, takeaway lunches and childcare arrangements. Remote workers have the flexibility of being able to take care of their physical and mental health by being able to schedule doctors and physician appointments without having to request days or afternoons out of the office.
For managers, remote working opens up the job pool to those who live further afield. Not to mention plausible projected increase in productivity. Recent reports during the lockdown period have shown that working from home actually results in longer hours spent at the desk. As the need to switch off and rush home is no longer there.
The biggest detriment that arises from the new WFH lifestyle comes in the form of reduced social interaction. Humans are social by nature. By working from home a lot of the face-to-face interactions that would be experienced throughout the day, in the office canteen or having a natter with different divisions in the office, are stripped away. In finance, where there are often multiple teams which all must work together, the lack of social interaction could have an impact on the building of lasting relationships and understanding between different cogs in the process flow.
Law Firms see things differently. With Slater & Gordon moving all it’s staff out of their Holborn office and Dentons announcing the closure of 2 UK offices, the trend is set to continue. A recent survey suggested that up to 67% of UK lawyers would prefer to WFH permanently. London could be left with a lot of empty towers…
Don’t we have a housing crisis?