Changed Offices More Appealing Than Home Working

10 Jul 2020 | 11.57 am

Changed Offices More Appealing Than Home Working

BNP Paribas Real Estate.survey on remote working

10 Jul 2020 | 11.57 am

Seven out of ten workers fear the health implications of shared work environments and 90% are happy to continue to work from home in present circumstances, says a survey from BNP Paribas Real Estate.

The property company researched the extent to which workers are happy to swap the office for the back room, in the longer term. While the vast majority said they are happy to work from home in the short term, the 90% figure fell to 50% if the period of home working were to extend into the future.

The top positives of work from home (WFH) included not having to commute, for almost nine out of ten.  An improvement in work /life balance mattered for 64%, and the monetary savings on lunch, commuting and incidental spending impressed over half of those surveyed at 51%.

Negatives included missing social interaction with colleagues (67%), missing colleagues’ work support (52%), and distraction by children (35%) — almost 60% lived with children in the household.

Managing director Kenneth Rouse (pictured) commented: “People are delivering on work commitments without the physical, personnel or even technological infrastructure of their normal workplaces. How long that can last is questionable, and organisations need to take decisions now to provide clarity on how employees are to continue.”.

Difficulties emerging from the survey include separating the home and work environment, and many respondents suggest they have an increased workload, additional pressure from management, and a tendency to work longer hours.

Increased personal costs for office supplies, heating, electricity and personal phones were also highlighted as a potential issue, especially if workers were to continue managing a home office.

Managers noted difficulties in recruiting and training new staff when working remotely, while the challenge of motivating teams and ensuring employee wellbeing was also mentioned.

Office spaces will have to change, the survey makes clear, with nine out of ten respondents from professional sectors seeing traditional office spaces as necessary, but with distanced working, larger communal areas and lower occupation levels.

Hi-tech health and safety measures, including voice-activated doors and elevators, anti-microbial fabrics and wall coverings, and germicidal lights were suggested. Healthcare design standards for cleaning and ventilation systems are anticipated in offices, while new modular offices with partitions a likely solution too.

Rouse added: “The clear survey feedback is that while office workers have adapted and accept current circumstances, the majority have no interest in WFH on a full-time basis, for various reasons.

“On balance, it seems that people work better as a team and that bringing the team together is productive and supports individual wellbeing. Whether employees are more dispersed in a new office space, or just occupy the same shared space, but on a part-time basis, are among the questions employers are now seeking to answer.”

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