Surveys show that approximately 71% of workers who had never previously worked at home before the pandemic say they now would. Shifts to working from home are likely to remain after coronavirus. Hybrid work will become the new normal, as we split our time between the office and working from home.
But the new normal isn’t temporary. Long after coronavirus, working from home will remain a big part of our lives.
Companies that have invested in their digital workforce during the pandemic will see reverting to the old normal as a step backwards.
The new reality of working from home is one we'd have faced in the next decade or so anyway. The pandemic has simply accelerated the process and the businesses who haven't yet changed their mind around remote work will have to come around to a new way of thinking about and structuring their workforce.
In the immediate future splitting work between office and home will be unavoidable as companies restructure their workplaces for coronavirus. A rota system will be temporarily required as different teams alternate between office and home to adhere to social distancing requirements.
But beyond that, hybrid work will remain. Twitter has told its employees they can continue to work from home permanently. Other big tech firms like Google and Facebook have said they will operate at around 30% of office capacity, with most workers allowed to work from home through 2020.
Being forced into working from home was an experiment that at the start of the pandemic most of us would probably have been sceptical about. But for those who’ve been able to, it has worked.
The office will still be a part of our working lives, we’ll just spend less time physically in it. And it will take work for companies to establish a digital culture that fits the culture in the office, so workers who spend more of their time at home don’t become isolated, and still fit in. The future of work was always heading in this direction. COVID-19 has simply accelerated the process, condensing into four short months what would have taken over a decade. That’s a good thing, and it had forced us to grapple with a challenge we were always going to face as hybrid work becomes the new normal.
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