Following a year that turned our lives upside down with lockdowns, remote work and a general conversion to an entirely new daily life, society more and more begins to open up again, and our work life might return to what it was. But what is the right strategy for companies to have a succesful reopening?
At MyDesk, we are very preoccupied with this question. We would like to encourage that companies closely consider how to fully organize their work structures to the needs and prerequisites of the individual. For instance, if an employee is comfortable with working from home and even thrives on it, should he be forced back to the office? Many companies have experienced in the last year that the ’good old’ way of doing things no longer has been feasible, and thus have had to adapt to the new situation.
Dilemma for workplaces
If a company has had a policy of the same attendance times in the office for all employees and that home workplaces are not ‘used here’, this adaptation might have been a radical change. Thus, the workplaces are now facing a dilemma: Do they go back to the same old ways or do they try to adapt to be set up and prepared for new realities?
In a new study by IT provider Atea in collaboration with analytics group YouGov, 844 Danes who are working and have been working from home since March of 2020 have been asked about their opinions of remote work. The study shows that the hybrid work model, in which office and home work are combined, is the way forward at reopening. 68 % think that the workplace should offer the option of working more from home than before COVID, and 31 % would be fine with never having to be physically present in the workplace. 37 % even answer that they are more efficient when working from home.
Desire for remote work
51 % answer that on average they would work two-three days from home a week, if it was up to them, and 36 % desire working from home three+ days a week. Furthermore, 62 % want to have at least half of their meetings online moving forward. Modern work tasks can often be solved regardless of the location of the employee, as long as they have access to the Internet and an internal system. With MyDesk, the employee announces from where they do their work for instance through Android or IOS. Hence, there are no ambiguities in regards to where the person is located and what their working terms are. It is up to the company to ensure the necessary work conditions for the employees, whether they work in the office or at home.
A great advantage of flexible work spaces is an improved work-life-balance, which is shown in the study as well. 51 % answer that since the lockdown of March 2020 they have had a more flexible daily life with a better balance of work and leisure time, where especially the absence of commute time is seen as a positive. However, 37 % do answer that while working from home they have been having difficulties separating work life and personal life.
In order for remote work to function, it is necessary to establish strong routines and clear lines of when one is ‘at work’ and when one is off. A tip is for instance to have a room or area in the home that is dedicated for the work, in which one stays for a daily fixed time span. In that way, this area and time span becomes associated with work, and afterwards one may take the rest of the day off in good conscience.
Individual prerequisites and needs
For employers, the challenge will be to restructure the organisations, so that they become adapted to the prerequisites and needs of the individual. For some employees, working from home will continue to be what fits the best, for others it will be the office, and others still might want to make use of both interchangeably. Based on the person’s assignments, it will vary as well which work conditions they need for instance in regards to access to quiet zones or areas for group based work.
Are the necessary tools provided, it can lead to improved satisfaction and effort for the employee who will experience being respected and acknowledged for their sort of work, and how they do it the best. With MyDesk, the company can create floor plans that may be separated into areas with specific purposes for instance quiet or group based. The employee books in advance, so that they are guaranteed a space in the zone that fits their assignments.
At MyDesk, we welcome the hybrid work model and believe that individualized work structures are the way forward for the modern company, as has for instance become the case at Codan.