The COVID-19 pandemic has forever changed the business landscape. As a result of lockdowns with businesses having to close their physical storefronts, many turned to the digital world and to remote working.
Although lockdowns and restrictions have ended in the UK, there are still concerns about COVID and illnesses in general. With UKHSA urging workers to stay at home if they feel unwell, what does this mean for businesses with offices?
Remote working and COVID-19
As mentioned above, remote working thrived during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic – working from home because of COVID became the norm, and even in a post-lockdown era, remote working arrangements are still going strong. In particular, we are now seeing hybrid working models where time is split between working from home and working in the office.
This is unsurprising considering that many British adults have familiarised themselves with working from, thus, having to re-adapt to working in the office has become a challenge and for some businesses, not worth it.
Health and the workplace
The pandemic truly opened our eyes to our health and wellbeing, with many businesses having adopted policies and programmes that promote healthier lifestyles and cleaner office spaces. Whether that’s access to fitness regimes or wellbeing sessions, or simply introducing more hand sanitisers and posters promoting healthy living around the office, health is becoming a top priority in the workplace.
Consequently, this raises the question of should we even go to the office if we feel unwell? Or, perhaps more bluntly, is there a point of going to the office where illnesses are likely to be spread?
After all, working from home has become a normal alternative, and an option available to many.
Should we switch to 100% working from home?
Working from home has a range of benefits and advantages. For instance, one study found that remote working improves work-life balance, boosts productivity, and even helps to foster healthier lifestyles. This shows that working from home is greatly beneficial for our wellbeing and for business success.
Happier and more productive employees lead to better work performance, improving business efficiency and contributing to organisational success. It is also worth noting that office spaces may be costly to rent, so for businesses who are looking to cut down on costs without compromising their workforce, switching to a remote working model may be a good choice.
Nevertheless, this does not mean that there are no drawbacks to remote working. Particularly, an office environment is excellent for building relationships with colleagues – which may be harder to achieve in a digital world. Sometimes having conversations face-to-face can also be valuable.
It appears that the concept of working from home is not going away anytime soon, despite the fact that COVID restrictions have been lifted. This form of working has been normalised, but we aren’t complaining. COVID hasn’t entirely disappeared – perhaps it’s time for businesses to adjust to a world where we live alongside COVID; a hybrid or remote model of working is the future that we’re seeing at the moment.
Unfortunately, being in the office 100% may no longer be the solution.