When the world went into a halt due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the way we live and work were considerably affected and had to take a drastic change in a short period of time. The work-from-home trend has suddenly become the new norm. Home working has given some employers the flexibility they need to continue their business operations while prioritising staff and customer health and wellbeing as part of their public health responsibility.
The work-from-home trend has proven beneficial for both employers and their employees. Corporations can save money, as they will likely scale back expensive office leases. Employees benefit from being at home to attend to their children, especially as the situation for online classes is still challenging. The general climate improves with less commuters and the quality of life is dramatically enhanced, as people will save hours of stressful drives, bus or train rides back and forth to the office.
There is no doubt, people have been reaping a lot of benefits from this new work trend, including increased flexibility, no daily commute, lower carbon footprint, decreased stress, more family time, healthier eating and a dozen more fantastic reasons why working from home is the way to work.
But is it really working for everyone? Whilst it’s vital to prevent further spread of COVID-19, it also brings new challenges for employees and businesses. Among these are:
- More distractions at home
Distractions from family members, TV, pet, household chores may affect your work performance. Too many distractions can lead to reduced productivity and motivation.
- Promotes feelings of isolation and workplace disconnect
Being isolated at home, away from colleagues can sometimes lead to a disconnect between you and your co-workers. Working from home means you won’t have access to immediate information about important business processes until someone in the company communicates it to you.
- Disproportionate work-life balance
It was initially believed that it should be easier to balance your responsibilities as a family member and as an employee as you perform your duties in one place. Studies found that it can also be challenging to create a distinct separation between your career and personal life. This could often lead to feelings of being burnt out.
- Less structured daily regime
Working from home gives you flexibility in your working hours and that may mean working late into the night because you took time out in the afternoon. It’s not a bad thing per se, but it becomes a challenge if you are used to a more structured daily regime.
- Less human time with your team
Being in an office setting means you will, over time, develop relationships with people in your workplace that often lead into friendships. Working remotely gives you fewer opportunities to gain friends or develop professional relationships with your colleagues.
- Overdependence on technology
Working from home relies considerably on your existing technology at home. If your internet is down, your work suffers and your productivity level declines. If your laptop fails, you may be out for a few days unless you call an IT person to sort out the problem, and this incurs some costs.
It can be harder to maintain team spirit and promote camaraderie when employees are working from home on their own.
A survey in May 2021 showed that 55% of US workers want a mixture of home and office working. In China, employment expert Alicia Tung has predicted that in 10 years’ time, there will be a 60/40 split of onsite/remote work. From being work-centric to worker-centric, employers are slowly realising the importance of putting the employee’s health and wellbeing at the forefront, and design work models that are best suitable to the employee, rather than the job itself.
What is Hybrid Work?
This is where a hybrid work model comes in and it could be the key to unravelling what the future of work looks like. Hybrid working is, in its most basic form, part-remote working. Some companies might allow every employee the flexibility to work on-site and remotely part of the week. Other companies might have employees working either full-time remote or full-time on-site, and others might allow a combo of the two.
In a hybrid work setup, fewer people are on-site at any given time. This may mean much reduced real estate investments for some companies. In the very least, it willl help you figure out how much office space you need. You can lower your real estate costs by at least 30% by rethinking your workplace strategy. Some companies might reinvest cost savings to provide work options for employees, like satellite offices, smaller co-working spaces, casual meeting rooms, or training spaces.
Why We Need Face to Face Interactions at Work
Remote working trend will surely stay even when 90% of eligible NZ population get vaccinated. However, with the hybrid work model, businesses will have the need to ease back into a physical workplace for the following reasons:
- Some meetings are simply better held physically in meeting rooms. Whether you’re meeting up with a client, a rebrand of a product, or any other important event, hosting an in-person meeting is a powerful way to illustrate the importance of the meeting.
- Projects requiring face-to-face collaboration. There are occasions when working together in a physical space is preferable in order to create connections between team members.
- Conducting interviews. Remote screening tools are now used regularly as part of the recruitment process, and it’s a useful way to interview lots of people—as well as saving time. However, when recruiting for a team member, a face-to-face interview can give you a more in-depth understanding of their personality and how they might fit within the business.
While working from home has its advantages, having access to an office space is important – not only for building relationships, but also so that people have a space to go to when they need to focus on their work.
In a recent study conducted by Wakefield Research, almost half of employees (47%) surveyed would likely look for a job if their employer doesn’t offer a hybrid work model. Another study shows that employees miss having an office so much that nearly two-thirds (64%) would be willing to pay out of their own pockets for access to an office space.
Companies should also look into alternate work spaces other than the corporate offices or their homes to give their employees a change of work environment. Good examples of these are co-working spaces, private serviced offices, or meeting spaces which provide environments that are conducive to productivity.
How CBD Office Can Help with Your Hybrid Work
CBD Office Ltd is a co-working and serviced office provider that offers a refreshing change of pace. The work environment and the facilities it offers promote creativity and collaboration. We provide:
- Premium Office Suites that are ideal alternate hybrid work hub for you and your team. These rooms are private and can be hired on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis. Compared to a monthly rental, you don’t pay unnecessary costs as you only pay for real-time use or the days you use the room. Services include free wi-fi, unlimited coffee, tea, filtered water, and the use of our common areas and facilities.
- Meeting/Conference rooms to meet with clients, conduct trainings, and interviews. We have 6 meeting spaces that can accommodate up to 20 people. These spaces feature fibre optic broadband internet connection, 70” Sharp Interactive TV full HD with built-in touch screen whiteboard for your picture-perfect presentation, Polycom audio conferencing, Zoom meeting and miracast capability, whiteboards, printing, photocopying, and scanning services.
Hybrid work gives people the flexibility and freedom to work when they want as well as where they want. It’s the best of both worlds: structure and sociability on one hand, and freedom and flexibility on the other.
By: Diana Subido Mendoza