Under the lockdown, the number of people working remotely from home in the UK has jumped from 2.66 million to around 15 to 20 million people – and many are getting accustomed to the different style of working.
Although working from home has often been seen as a second choice for many, lacking the legitimacy of working in an office or reserved for freelancers or working parents, attitudes are starting to change and the world is opening its eyes to the role of working from home, professionally known as ‘teleworking.’
People are working fuller days
People talking on social media have acknowledged their ability to work fuller days by not having to commute – something that the average Londoner does for around 2 hours and 17 minutes per day.
Others have praised the lack of distractions in the office, such as small talk with colleagues, unnecessary meetings and the time taken to get comfortable at work.
The role of fewer face-to-face meetings has meant fewer journeys and less time taken up each day, with workers use video conferencing or phone calls instead.
Adjusting to new technologies
Whilst video conferencing is pretty standard for most office-based businesses, using these technologies has now become essential for all types of companies and it has forced working now working from home to get to grips with the likes of Google Hangouts, Zoom and other screen-sharing devices.
Nic Redfern of Know Your Money commented: “As the coronavirus forces more people to work remotely, communicating has never been more important. While apps like Slack and Trello are used by many businesses in their day-to-day operations, they become even more significant for teams working remotely as they keep individuals connected and focused on the same goal.
Businesses can adapt further to remote working by encouraging employees to communicate via video-calls and screen-sharing apps. These are invaluable for replacing meetings and enabling employees to collaborate on projects, as well as relieving some of the loneliness that people can feel when they work from home.”
Could this be more cost-effective for firms?
For many firms, having staff working from home could pose a huge saving on office space.
The average office space in London costs around £650 to £1,500 per person, per month and therefore the option to have smaller offices and encourage people to work remotely could save large companies thousands of pounds per month.
This approach has already been adopted by Tesco’s head office in North London, which offers an open space working environment (not fixed desks), giving staff the option to work from home if they would like to.
Daniel Tannenbaum from Tudor Lodge Consultants commented: “We have been running a digital agency for almost 6 years and always opted to have staff working remotely. From a costs perspective it is a huge saving and provided that you can get work done, the client will always be happy.”
“When pitching, you certainly look more legitimate if you have an office – and saying you are based in Mayfair or Shoreditch says a lot more about your brand than working in a random suburb. But sometimes having a registered address in a nice area or being able to rent a desk upon request is a good option if you ever need to meet clients or make yourself seem more authentic.”
“We appreciate that with coronavirus, people have had to adapt to working from home and for many it feels strange and they are getting distracted by their children, spouses and Netflix. It is important to have some form of boundaries such as a dedicated room where you work, specific hours or saying to your family that you will take breaks every day at 10am and 3pm – and that will create a healthy balance.”