“Most will never go back to an office-only work environment.”
As numerous firms look to extend their work at home polices amidst the pandemic, just 24 percent of British workers want to return to the office.
In a survey of more than 6,000 office workers across the UK, Germany, France and the Netherlands by identity management firm Okta, 62 percent of workers say that increased flexibility has helped them focus on their duties.
A major concern for employers when the lockdown kicked in was that productivity would take a nose dive. Interestingly 44 percent of those surveyed by Okta said that they had fewer distraction while working at home, while just over half (55 oercent) believe their productivity levels have increased, thanks to skipped commutes, etc.
A recent report from advisory firm Valoir meanwhile found that the negative impact on productivity due to working at home was a minuscule reduction of one percent.
(Social media was deemed to be the biggest distraction as one third of those surveyed said they spent two hours on it during work hours.)
Jesper Frederiksen, VP and GM of EMEA, Okta commented: “We all work differently and the results of our study speak to that. Some people perform better if they avoid their twice daily commute and head to work in their distraction-free home office.
“This is why businesses should look into introducing a dynamic hybrid of office and remote work, which means they can re-evaluate the traditional office space while providing employees with comparable benefits, flexibility, and experiential work environments in the location that best fits their needs.”
Work at Home Policy Extend by Tech Giants
Many of the tech giants have indicated they will continue their work at home polices. This includes the recent announcement by Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey that its staffers can work from home permanently if they choose to when the pandemic restrictions are lifted.
The social media platform’s Chief HR officer Jennifer Christie elaborated in a blog post that: “With very few exceptions, offices won’t open before September. When we do decide to open offices, it also won’t be a snap back to the way it was before. It will be careful, intentional, office by office and gradual. There will also be no business travel before September, with very few exceptions, and no in-person company events for the rest of 2020. We will assess 2021 events later this year.”
Facebook, which alongside Microsoft was one of the first US companies to initiate work at home practices, has indicate that they will let workers work at home through to the end of 2020. While Google’s CEO Sundar Pichai has extend its work at home policy, which was due to end on June 1, by an additional seven months.
However, security concerns are a real issue when it comes to working at home. Only a third of respondents feel that the online security measures put in place by employers are keeping them safe from cyber attacks. There is a sectoral imbalance when it comes to security confidence. as 57 percent of those working in the IT sector felt ‘completely prepared’, while only a quarter of those in the education and retail sector felt protected.
Duncan Brown, VP of enterprise research at IDC commend on the Okta study that “progressive companies have enabled home working for decades, But COVID-19 has now made homeworking a necessity for many companies that lacked the infrastructure and cultural preparations for such a rapid shift.
“Bosses are discovering the need to trust employees, and employees are repaying this trust with increased productivity. It’s a profound example of how this crisis has accelerated digital transformation in many companies. Most will never go back to an office-only work environment.”