I’ve been working from home as a freelance copywriter for five years now. I’m a big fan of the home office (and indeed the camper van office) but was fascinated to see how the rest of the world would take to it when the Covid-19 pandemic and lockdown hit us back in March. RBS has recently told 50,000 employees to stick with home working until 2021. It seems likely that many big employers will take the same approach.
On a personal level Mr B2 and I have really enjoyed our joint working from home experience. We’ve learned from each other’s pre-Covid routines. I’ve swapped my ‘work until it’s finished’ approach for regular coffee and lunch breaks. He’s found ways to balance the boom and bust nature of home working. Despite continuing to achieve in our individual fields, we have additional quality time together, discuss work with each other more and are generally more relaxed.
Of course the picture isn’t the same for everyone. I can only imagine our stress levels if our children were still young and requiring home schooling. Or if we had less space and access to IT equipment. Whether we love it or hate it however, working from home has big implications for individuals, families and society. I thought it might be interesting to gather together a few snippets of coronavirus working-from-home information.
- In April 2020 46% of employed people in the UK did some work from home (57.2% in London)
- In 2019 less than 30% of employed people did some work from home
- In mid May 2020 53% of middle class workers (ABC1) were working full time from home. Only 22% of working class workers (C2DE) were doing the same
- The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has said that measuring the influence of coronavirus on UK productivity is important but complicated
- Telecommuting or working from home might not have the positive implications for the environment we’d all been hoping for. Significant energy savings would require organisations to switch to 100% home working and downsize office space
- 39% of UK workers struggle with loneliness during times of remote working
The ideas above suggest working from home is great for someone who is middle class, disinterested in productivity, not worried about sustainability and relatively unsociable. However I love the lifestyle and this doesn’t sound like me at all. I guess we’ll all have to wait and see what the next few months bring. If nothing else, the coronavirus impact will have given us all the opportunity to reflect on our working lives and ongoing priorities.