Covid-19 will become synonymous with ‘working from home’ and has caused many businesses to re-consider how they operate day to day. So given that the required technology has been around for some years, why has it taken Covid-19 to prompt this re-think.
Some of it will be down to financial expediency, if your business is struggling financially and you can cut overheads by closing offices that has got to be a good thing. But having discussed this with a number of business owners over the years, though they may not say so explicitly, a key barrier is trust. The assumption has been that home workers are likely to be less productive than if the person is in the office. The potential for distraction, intentional or not, is greater.
Experience during lockdown seems to suggest the opposite, with employers I have spoken to very happy with the output of those working from home and seeing no need to implement any additional checks and measures. Whilst for the individual, home-working probably adds an element of flexibility and certainly reduces travel and subsistence costs, there are downsides particularly around the reduction in human interaction. For the business also we have seen over years how email can vastly prolong discussions and inflame debate, there really is nothing like a 5minute face to face conversation to sort things out.
As is usually the case the ideal will often fall somewhere in between the two extremes, with a mixture of office-based work and home working for many. But hopefully this will open up the debate and dispel some of the myths around the way we work, encouraging us all to take a more questioning approach to how we work.