One of the biggest features of the past few months has been the rise in homeworking, with many of us discovering its various pros and cons (and pitfalls) for the first time.
Particularly in the first weeks after workplaces were shut in response to the lockdown, the sentiment towards homeworking will have been at its highest. No long commutes, sitting in traffic or rail delays; more free time to be spent at home, with families and in the garden.
At the same time, many companies were vocal about how encouraged they were by the productivity levels of their staff and wondering why they hadn’t embraced remote working until now. Some declared they won’t be returning to the office full stop and will allow staff to continue to work remotely even if and when conditions return to normal, realising the savings that can be made and the lack of flexibility fixed offices offer.
Now, four months in, the positive feeling staff have towards homeworking may be starting to wane.
A big challenge with working from home is how isolating it can be without regular interaction with colleagues.
This is especially so for those who live at home on their own, but even for those living with family or friends. Shutting yourself away in a study or bedroom for hours on end, five days a week can be difficult, and removes the important barrier between home life and office life.
While a few weeks of homeworking at a time can be manageable, doing it indefinitely might be a worrying prospect – particularly for those who miss or are used to working closely with and interacting with colleagues. Social interaction is so important to our mental health, of course, which is where an office environment can be so valued. Perhaps now, more of us are realising how much we miss it.
Employers and individuals will have some important decisions to make in the coming weeks. With social distancing now ‘one metre plus’ and government guidance changing, businesses will be conducting risk assessments and considering if and when it is safe to invite staff back to work.
Where remote working is going to be embraced long-term, it’s important that employers don’t automatically assume this means ‘homeworking’. They’ll need to work with staff to identify the most appropriate location for them – one that’s going to maximise productivity and protect their mental wellbeing.
This is certainly an area in which coworking offices will be growing in appeal, giving remote workers a fantastic option to maintain all-important social interaction and a more formal place to work when going back to the office isn’t an option.
At SO Fourteen a number of our members use the space for a few days per month, utilising our Hot Desk membership options to balance working from home and office life. Encouraging staff to try coworking can also bring huge benefits to employers too, which we covered in this article.
So if you’re finding working from home a slog, a challenge or feel it’s impacting your productivity or motivation, we’d urge you to give coworking a try.
Contact us today on 023 8112 5014 or book a tour to explore how SO Fourteen can help you to recapture your work/life balance.