Many have argued that the ‘new normal’ occasioned by COVID-19 will equally extend to the workplace. Besides the use of space, one very popular trend and topic on the impact of COVID-19 on the workplace is how it is suddenly fast-forwarding the remote part of the future of work.
The future of work is said to be wherever, whenever, and so on. This means that place and time will be secondary, while productivity and results will be the key objective of work.
There were also cases for the improved productivity, work-life balance, cost-effectiveness, wellness and so on as part of the positives of this pandemic-occasioned speed to work-from-home (WFH).
However, result from a recent survey commissioned by Institute of Workplace & Facilities Management (IWFM) in the United Kingdom seems to be signaling a cautious approach to jumping on the bandwagon of WFH.
According to the report, 41% of employees in the UK report that they do not have an appropriate working environment at home. Only a quarter (24%) benefit from a separate home office, with two-thirds (64%) resorting to make-shift workstations at dining room tables, sofas and beds.
Furthermore, half (50%) of the sample size said they are finding it difficult to stay motivated and focused when working from home, and another 44% said they face challenges with distractions in the home. Those working from sofas and armchairs said they are taking a productivity hit – with 18% of them saying they lack motivation and over a quarter (25%) of the sample size also reporting they work fewer hours per day, than they did in the office.
“Working from home is blurring lines between work and personal life”, the report showed; explaining that 38% find it hard to switch off at the end of the day and 25% feel pressured to respond to emails after working hours. The report also showed that 62% miss a clear separation between work and home life, and 40% miss a clear structure to the day.
With countries around the world now easing the lock down and re-opening their economies, there are organizations that have taken a firm decision on their mode of work – either remote or on site – and there are some in the process of taking a stand.
Facility Managers hold the key to preparing the workplace for employee resumption and helping the organization to reform workplace for the realities of the times. The value Facility Management offers as a profession and business function that integrates people, place and process with the purpose of improving the quality of life of people, and the productivity of the core business cannot be over emphasized in taking a stand on either remote or onsite working.
However, while both decisions have their pros and cons, it is important to take these decisions with the workplace or facilities managers in the loop.