Hannah Griffin looks into working from home 3 years after the start of the pandemic, prompting the majority of the British workforce to adapt.

56% of Londoners say they wouldn’t take a job if it’s not flexible – meaning they have the choice to work remotely or from the office. And who can blame them? With the COVID-19 pandemic proving that most of the UK workforce can swap office desks for kitchen tables, there’s no doubt that the groggy morning commute has never been less appealing.  

Many have found home working an easy way to juggle increasingly busy schedules… 

Studies have shown that UK workers who don’t commute into the office can save up to 73 minutes of time per day. This time can be dedicated back to work or used to pursue hobbies, both a productivity win for companies, as engagement in leisure activities outside work has been shown to increase job satisfaction, thus improving performance.  

Climate Change has also become factor that for many is becoming too impossible to ignore. Young professionals at the forefront of the climate fight have seen the air-conditioned office blocks and fuel heavy commutes, that characterise traditional office jobs as key issues in the hunt for low carbon footprints.  

They are, of course correct, according to the Office for National Statistics, 25% of carbon emissions and 28% of greenhouse gas emissions in 2020 came from the transport sector. With an average of 68% of commuters driving into work in 2021, there is a significant amount of emissions that could be cut by working at home a few days a week.  

But working from home has its pitfalls too… 

We should be wary that some of the perceived positives of working from home may turn out to be more productivity sapping than we think. Being at home during the workday seems like a great deal, it’s easy to feel far more constructive doing the washing whilst Teams is on mute in the background. But the more our household chores encroach upon our working time, the more difficult it is to strike work-life balance and the more stressed we become.  

When lockdown was announced in 2020, people were quick to protest isolation measures. For many of us, work provides a large proportion of our social interaction, with home working becoming the new normal, it might be more convenient, but also a lot lonelier. 

The sudden transition from face-to-face to remote work because of the COVID-19 pandemic has been proven to have an overall negative impact on employee mental health. For some, this could be as serious as depression, anxiety, self-harm, and, in extreme cases, attempted suicide. This problem, most prevalent in young people, who may have moved across the country or even overseas eager to start their careers, only to find themselves with no family or friends around them, and far fewer opportunities to make new connections in the workplace.  

O2 have found that 69% of new career starters miss face to face catch ups with their colleagues. With little opportunity to learn from colleagues around them, young workers are left feeling more out of their depth than ever before.  

It’s not only less experienced workers who are losing out from being confined to their homes. Renowned economist Nicholas Bloom has quoted in a 2020 article ‘I fear this collapse in office face time will lead to a slump in innovation, the new ideas we are losing today could show up as fewer new products in 2021 and beyond, lowering long-run growth.’ 

A reduced sense of team rapport or a lack of opportunity to share innovative ideas simply does not present itself as frequently when team members are not sharing spontaneous breaks or chatting in the office. The overall result – reduced creativity in the businesses setting – remains the same. 

Hybrid working is a concept, widely welcomed in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic. It allows workers to reclaim autonomy over their work life, but also sacrifice the relationships they once may have had.  

By nature, we are creatures of habit – and perhaps we have fallen into a bad one. Human social interaction is precious – and fundamental to innovation and creativity. So, next time you go to click send on a Teams meeting invite, maybe you should think twice. 

Edited By: Christina Major (News Editor)

Design From: Kent Jobs ‘Five great tips for working at home’.


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