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02 December 2021

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Working from home looks like it is here to stay
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Working from home looks like it is here to stay

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Working from home is a world changer for some

A survey carried out for the BBC reveals that most people believe that workers will continue to want to work from home even after the pandemic is over.

This is a matter we have raised in our columns several times over the past year or so since covid has come amongst us and it represents a fundamental change in how people feel they wish to conduct their working lives. It appears that the majority of workers would like to continue to work from home either full time or at least for some of the time.

This very significant shift in approach brings with it a number of really important questions about how working practices might look in the future. Probably it is going to turn out that working from home will be ideal for some but simply not a runner at all for others and it will depend so much on the type of job but also on the level within the job that the particular worker has reached.

For example, the idea of junior members of staff or apprentices working from home raises the big issue of how do they get their work experience? A major part of the training of a young person in a job is the fact of joining the company’s work force and being a part of it. This is partly to develop team work but also to enable the apprentice to learn his trade or profession from a more senior worker. Working from home would deny the ability to obtain the advantages of going to work where mentoring really is the primary way to learn the job.

Another reason given for not encouraging working from home is the issue of creativity and collaboration. With workers working together, it is often much easier for new matters to be developed. I can imagine this is not going to be easy via Zoom.

Allowing workers to work from home means that they are being accorded a considerable amount of trust; who is to say whether they are working office hours or not? Or even working the requisite number of hours at all? Monitoring people’s work performance is always one way of seeing how things stand but again that is not always easy – you really are into a huge element of trust!

But there are big cost implications too in working from home. For employers, they do not need anything like as much office space and we have heard of companies putting accommodation on the market and moving to smaller units. Office accommodation costing what it does, this is a massive incentive to agree to home working. For the employer, there is also the prospect of being able to reduce pay rates because employees will no longer have to pay the cost of getting to and from work.

On the other side of the coin, the principal advantage to working from home is the ability to be flexible – maybe! It rather depends on your job. It can also save an individual a vast amount of money. To not have to spend on transport to work is both a cost saving and a reduction in carbon footprint. It also removes the need to go out to the shops for lunch although you can still spend money on lunch even if you are working from home. Where an employee is going to be hit is in his pay packet if the employer decides to reduce his pay, but then an employee would be very diligent in relation to that sort of activity. So this is the perfect point in the worker employer relationship to adopt a bit of compromise!

Of course technology has made it so easy for communication to take place between home and work that working from home is even more practicable than it was before.

It is an interesting article and if you want to read it you can find it here:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-58559179

A certain stay at home culture has started to develop. We see it also with take away and home delivery food. This has quite taken off during the pandemic and people seem to like it. But for all we know, we may have further lockdowns imposed on us, either nationally or locally so the habit of staying at home could become even more engrained.

And what will happen to all of the office blocks in towns which are now empty. Well, of course, they will be converted into nice homes to work from!

Adrian Leopard 16-09-21

Photo Domenico Loia

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Adrian Leopard & Co is represented in the UK by 3CL (UK) Ltd trading as Adrian Leopard Associates.

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