Love it or loathe it, hybrid working is here to stay.
The pandemic has undoubtedly changed us all, including how we work. If you had asked me about the possibility of working even one day a week from home pre-pandemic, I would have politely explained that this was not an option and that even broaching the subject at the interview could scupper your chances of progressing further in the recruitment process.
But look where we are today.
Now we have candidates saying no to opportunities if the employer does not offer at least one day working from home.
So how has working from home changed the way we work?
Some say the benefits of working from home outweigh those of being office based. Working from home undoubtedly offers a better work/life balance, with commute time and associated stress negated on the days we set up from home. We are more productive and have more autonomy, with less interruption. We embrace the flexibility working from home offers us as individuals - it's ok to put a load of washing on and take delivery in; you are, after all, still working. We fit life around work rather than work around life. And the money saved through working from home is immediate and measurable - add up the cost of the commute, that Pret coffee (and cheeky croissant), lunch, and drinks after work - it all adds up. Working from home can save you hundreds of pounds a month and makes a positive impact on the environment. Employees offered the opportunity to work from home report feeling more motivated, which in turn means less staff turnover and a happier workforce (and employer).
And the downside of working from home? Lines can easily become blurred between work time and home/your time. From personal experience, I start my working day earlier (as I can) and finish my working day later (as there is always something else to be done). We socialise less when working from home, both with our colleagues and the wider world we live in. We can feel isolated at times, with communication requiring thought and response time rather than it being instant and spontaneous. There are also cost implications of working from home as energy costs increase and we live through our current cost of living crisis.
Working from home has allowed us to really think about how we do our jobs. We can keep the best parts of office culture but also move away from bad habits (meetings for the sake of meetings, inefficient and time-heavy processes, red tape, and office politics). People can now reconsider where they live, moving to more affordable areas which may be further away from the office but which matters less as commuting costs and time decrease.
78% of those who worked from home in some capacity said that being able to work from home gave them an improved work-life balance - Office for National Statistics, 2021 Census.
77% of those who work remotely at least a few times per month show increased productivity, with 30% doing more work in less time and 24% doing more work in the same period of time - ConnectSolutions.
Hybrid working is undoubtedly here to stay, with the benefits seeming to outweigh the negatives. We have embraced the opportunity to work from home and shy away from roles which are fully office based. Who would have thought that we have come full circle in just a few short years - working from home is now the norm rather than the exception. There's a balance to be reached, but it can be reached and will lead to happier, healthier, and more fulfilled employees, which in turn benefits employers. Most definitely a win-win.