Homeworking has become a way of life for almost half of British workers since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to official figures that show a jump in the number of people working away from their office or factory. As companies look to bring staff back from furlough, the figures show how employers have proved reluctant to open their workplaces and preferred to keep staff at home.
Companies that were 100% office-based before the crisis had their concerns about what working from home could mean for employee productivity, team cohesiveness and maintaining company culture. However, businesses across the globe have been pleasantly surprised about the effects home working has had on their business, from employees’ mental health, to the impact on the climate.
According to one study, 82% of managers referenced reduced employee activity as a key factor for not introducing home working at an earlier stage. However, 49% of I.T professionals believe they are more productive at home than in the office. This is attributed to less day-to-day communication and “chit-chat” with colleagues and even the smallest things, such as answering the office phone. In addition to this, tools such as Zoom, Google Hangouts and Skype mean that teams can catch up on a regular basis!
We may not realise it, but everything from the morning commute, to making sure we have time to pick up our children from school, can cause a lot of stress. We spend a lot of time checking the time, in order to make sure we always hit the mark. 98% of people surveyed said that even after the pandemic is over, they would like to work remotely at least some of the time for the rest of their careers. This was attributed to having more time with family, no commute and having a flexible schedule.
One of the reasons climate change experts have a hard time getting people to change their habits is that the impact on the environment is hard to see. But even in the early days of the global response to COVID-19, we saw a dramatic reduction in traffic, congestion and pollution.
Research by Instant Offices showed air quality dramatically improved in some of the world’s biggest cities just two weeks into lockdown. Dangerous PM2.5 air pollution dropped by 60% in Delhi, 71% in Los Angeles, 34% in London and 56% in Madrid, due to reduced activity. Working from home or co-working space for one or two days a week can help businesses reduce their CO2 emissions and achieve a lower carbon footprint!
A greener future for the U.K?
A British clean air campaign has also found that maintaining remote working after the coronavirus lockdown in the U.K. could cut two airports’ worth of emissions and eliminate 11.3 billion miles of commutes! The findings were revealed by environmental NGO Global Action Plan as part of an effort to urge businesses to continue allowing remote working by their staff.
72% of respondents said they thought improving air quality should be a priority in light of the way coronavirus can affect people’s lungs, while 74% of those surveyed said they wanted businesses to do more to cut pollution and traffic.
Chris Large, Global Action Plan’s co-CEO, said the coronavirus had brought about a change in many people’s relationship with work, travel and the environment. “It’s a triple-win really. For businesses, who can keep going even under lockdown; for employees who see benefits from lower stress levels to better sleep patterns from working at home; and it’s a win for the wider community and the environment, where we could potentially avoid a peak in pollution as we come out of lockdown.”
Whatever the reasons, we’re delighted to see that people’s perceptions of protecting the environment are shifting! If you are returning to your office soon, get in touch to find out how we can help your business drive a better future for our planet.Back