… splitting time between home and the office.
“These ‘workfromhomers’, spending maybe four days out of seven in the places where they live, would contribute more to the economic and social life of their communities than typical commuters or weekenders.”
WFH is looking quite attractive:
Unless you’re a city-centre retailer:
But for those who can, working from home might actually help ‘revitalise’ and ‘rebalance’ the country, as suggested by Rowan More, the Observer’s architecture correspondent:
The government, it was reported last week, is thinking of making working from home a “default” option, one that employees would have a right to request. “Sixty three per cent of members of the Institute of Directors,” it was also reported, “said they intended to shift to working from home for office-based workers for between one and four days a week.”
These “workfromhomers”, spending maybe four days out of seven in the places where they live, would contribute more to the economic and social life of their communities than typical commuters or weekenders. Last summer, there was a minor government-led panic about the hit to Pret a Manger’s profits that came with the desertion of business districts due to the pandemic. But wouldn’t it be better in almost every way if people bought their lunches and coffees from local businesses?
As companies look to how to deal with employees’ new expectations, different models are being considered:
It looks, then, as though people will be working from home for at least part of the working week – whether in London, Zurich, Budapest or New Dehli:
This is called ‘hybrid’ working – as the Telegraph explains:
Bosses face home working clash with staff as new divide emerges
Employees overwhelmingly back a hybrid approach to working but bosses appear set to burst the WFH dream
Figures from the Office for National Statistics released on Monday suggested that many staff are hopeful that they will not have to return permanently at all. A total of 85 per cent of adults who are currently working from home want to adopt a “hybrid” approach after the pandemic by splitting their time between home and the office, data from the ONS revealed…
Joseph Lappin, head of employment at law firm Stewarts, warned workers are unlikely to have reasonable grounds to defy instructions to return to the office once restrictions are lifted. He said: “If employers instruct staff to come back, to go back to the office, in ordinary circumstances that would be a lawful and reasonable instruction.”
Some experts have warned of a resignation boom looming amid the biggest shift in working patterns for decades. Half of Britons are already at their place of work as of mid-May while a quarter remain at home and 11 per cent are hybrid working, the ONS said…
Abi Casey, co-head of strategic analysis at the ONS, said the data could show a divide between workers wanting a hybrid approach and businesses wanting more staff in the office. She said: “There are potential impacts in terms of the wider impacts on society and the economy if we have increased home working going forward. For example, commuting [and] city centres may be impacted with a smaller number of people going to work as well as shifts in regional populations and long-term business investment.”
A Morgan Stanley survey of businesses across the UK and Europe suggests office workers want on average two days per week at home, double the pre-Covid level, with some 31pc of home workers keen to work remotely most of the week…
“My sense is that there will be an interesting generational shift,” says Nick O’Donnell, a partner at law firm Baker McKenzie. “The older generation of deal-doers has grown up knowing how to work in person meetings to their advantage and won’t want to give that up. However, the younger generation is learning new approaches and already spends so much of their life online that it is also their natural forum for business. It will take a few years to play out but I suspect that gritty face to face negotiations will largely go the way of the telex and fax machines and getting together will be reserved more for problem solving and relationship building.”
“There will certainly be flashpoints over the next weeks and months ahead as employers ask staff to return to their normal place of work,” says Joseph Lappin, head of employment at law firm Stewarts. “Employees who at the moment are very happy working from home will say, ‘well this has all gone very well over the last 18 months, why do I suddenly need to come back to the office?’”
It is not just bosses who want their teams to return. The economic consequences from a lasting shift to remote working are potentially huge if demand for services, housing, transport and office space shifts out of cities or dwindles. A delay to the lifting of the work from home advice will prolong the pressure facing Britain’s biggest city centres, which are still suffering from suppressed footfall. Spending and shopper traffic has failed to recover most in the likes of London, Manchester and Birmingham while high streets in small towns have bounced back far more rapidly…
“However, the benefits of remote working will be front of mind as we squeeze back into busy commuter trains in September.”
It is indeed a generation thing:
A lot of young people like WFH so much that they would rather quit than go back to the office.
Morning Consult, a data research firm, conducted a poll for Bloomberg News in May that showed that 39% of Americans surveyed would definitely consider looking for a new job if their employer asked them to come back to the office. That percentage is even higher amongst young people. According to the report, a whopping 49% of Gen Z and millennials would quit if their bosses aren’t flexible about remote work…
Controlling where people are can also be seen as a way that employers assert dominance over their employees. “They feel like we’re not working if they can’t see us,” Twidt told Bloomberg. Not only do young people like Twidt seem to be resisting that sort of authoritarian impulse, they also want to do what’s good for their mental health. And working from home, it turns out, may be better for many folks’ emotional wellbeing.
Finally, as the World Economic Forum says:
Working from home (WFH) is here to stay. A new study suggests 20% of full work days will be completed from home in the future – compared to just 5% before the pandemic.
But despite initial challenges, the US National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) predicts the WFH trend will stick thanks to benefits for both employees and employers.
Here are five reasons why the shift to home working will be a long-lasting trend, according to the NBER’s survey of more than 30,000 people in the US…