With UK employees spending much of 2020 working from home, have things now changed for good? Covid-19 forced organisations in all sectors to embrace home-working so that business could continue as usual. Looking back at the lessons we've since learned about it, it's a policy that's here to stay for 74% of company directors.
But what does that mean for employees?
It's not unreasonable to think that most Brits are content with the idea of never going back to the office. There's no stressful commute, more freedom over what you wear each day, and all your creature comforts to hand. But recent research by instantprint actually reveals how 90% of UK workers do miss at least one thing about going into the office.
The Office: What Are Brits Missing The Most?
In a survey of more than 1,000 people, the business card experts found that more than one third of Brits (36%) are missing their co-workers and colleagues most. The lack of gossip and small talk is another major downside to working from home for Brits too (31.5%).
More bizarre, perhaps, is the fact that 27.9% of people are missing the ritual of getting ready in the morning and a quarter (24.6%) are pining for the general office environment.
It doesn't seem, however, that men and women think the same when it comes to the various things people are missing about the office. While co-workers and colleagues rank as the most popular overall, there's a clear split between men (36%) and women (27%), for example.
The Things That UK Employees Aren't Missing
For all the things that people miss about the office, the Instantprint survey also uncovers the quirks and irritations that aren't being mourned. And it's likely to be these things that people are dreading when the time comes to return to the office.
Leading the charge in this part of the survey were general office activities like team meetings – cited by 6.4% of UK employees. Birthday celebrations (5.6%) and having to do the tea round (5.4%) were also ‘popular' choices for things that aren't missed about the office.
More Productive at Home or in The Office?
For employers, one of the main concerns about the rise of working from home is the impact it has on employee productivity. And, to a point, the instantprint study suggests those concerns are legitimate. More than a third (37%) admit to watching Netflix during working hours, while 25% say they catch 40 winks during the day.
Other common distractions to come out from the survey include chores (24.4%), walking the dog (21.6%) and doing online surveys (19.6%). For some businesses, this could sound alarm bells at a time when they may be increasingly receptive to the idea of working from home.
If this is to be the norm going forward, what workers miss and what distracts them could still change and evolve further. As CIPD chief executive Peter Cheese explained, “the pandemic is going to have a long-lasting effect on how we work”. As 2020 comes to an end and 2021 gets underway, working from home still feels relatively fresh – and still yet to feel ‘normal'.