It has been over a year since COVID-19 took the world by storm and altered our way of living and thinking. We have had to adopt a work from home (WFH) approach in the interest of social distancing and isolation. As a result, the way we think about our work/life balance has changed forever.
Pre-COVID, a typical 9-5 job would encompass around 8 hours at the office with an hour lunch break. Your daily activities were limited to colleague/client interactions and you probably remained sedentary for a large portion of your day.
Fast forward to a WFH lifestyle and suddenly your day had more possibilities. Given that many people were mourning losses and the freedom to do as they please, some have also noticed how working remotely has given them increased control over their day.
Intrigued by what the office would look like post-pandemic, Matt Higgins conducted research via a LinkedIn poll. He posed the question “Once we are all vaccinated, would you prefer to continue working remotely, return to the office or adopt a hybrid way (a few days in/out)?”
61,296 people voted and the results sparked much conversation and debate. 9% voted for return to the office, 19% of people want to stay fully remote and a whopping 72% are for the hybrid model of working. Higgins is of the opinion that you cannot step in the same river twice. “The world has changed irrevocably, and we cannot unsee that there is a better way to live and work – one that uses technology to reduce friction in lieu of face time.”
It is of course important to consider that not all industries hold the option to work from home. However, for those that do, the benefits are plentiful.
A Global Workplace Analytics study estimates that 25-30% of the workforce will be working from home multiple days a week by the end of 2021. This comes with the consensus that the widespread availability of technologies can be used to collaborate and stay in constant contact. Employees appreciated the chance to avoid the time and cost of commutes, look after children, spend time with family and include variety in their day. Corporate executives are noticing the potential cost savings too, as expensive leases for office space may no longer be needed.
It will be interesting to see how the next year pans out with regards to the hybrid model and which progressive businesses will adapt to it. Subsequently, its effect on employee and business productivity and the new balance of in-person/online collaboration.
“The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new.”- Socrates