As Boris announced this week that people should start returning to work - firstly people who can’t work from home, and eventually everyone else, here are our predictions for how working life is going to change.
Before lockdown, only 5% of the working population worked primarily from home with another quarter experiencing home working on occasion. Now, apart from key workers and those who cannot work, everyone is working from their home office. And it’s likely that we won’t be going back to the same normality - there’s no vaccine as yet so we can’t congregate in the same way in a small space, so where possible the forseeable future will still see us working from home. Overall some of the changes of us working from home will see us:
Taking fewer commutes
Hopefully the reduction in air pollution will continue as we take fewer journeys to the office. This will also mean that we’ll have more time in our days when we are working from home to enjoy independently, whether it’s taking our children to school (once they have returned), cooking sumptuous meals or exercising in the park.
Going to work in a different office set-up
In the immediate future, it’s likely that your office will convert to offer more private spaces or individual set-ups. If you are going to a meeting you’ll be in a meeting of five in a room that used to hold ten people.
Over time, we’ll see more well-thought out measures that revolve around the majority of people working from home and coming into the office to make vital decisions and create relationships between teams. People in this instance need to come together to communicate and socialise and offices will be designed to reflect this.
Greater use of online technology
We’ve already become accustomed to Zoom and MS Teams, and they will be here to stay as a form of communication with others in the company. We’ll need to be proficient in using them, be able to adapt and learn new technology quickly, and be able to communicate effectively with them.
A designated home office space in your house
You can’t work on a makeshift table forever so it’s likely that if you are working primarily from home you’ll create an official office space along with the necessary equipment and comforts. With two of you, you might have an office room, or it’s more likely you’ll be fighting for a corner of the living room!
Balancing work and life more precariously
Although you do the same amount of work from home, and you need to be available for meetings and calls, you may find yourself doing some things around the house during the day (especially with children!) and working in the evening. With no separation of work and home life, they may blur into one another and you may have to come up with some of your own ground rules to make sure that you don’t work silly hours.
Measuring our output via different means
Without anyone over our shoulder micromanaging us while we work from home, and bosses not able to see what we are specifically doing on a day-to-day basis, the way in which our performance is measured may change. It may be that your company is happy with you hitting specific deadlines, rather than understanding the minutiae of what you’ve done.
As part of this, it may be that you have to work to your strengths so that you can hit these targets. For example, you may know that you work best in one 90-minute bursts and schedule three of these within your day alongside a designated space so that you can really concentrate. Or it might be that you plan what you want to achieve the night before and only stop working when it is completed.