Remember when this was supposed to last 2 weeks?

It’s been a year now and talks of returning to the office have created a lot of debate over the flexibility of job roles and how often companies should be allowing employees to work from home.

Recently, you may have seen a few variations of this poll floating around on Linkedin and the results have been interesting, to say the least. There has been a surprising number of people how who are willing to work from home permanently. With this in mind, we wanted to look at how COVID may have changed the traditional workplace.

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One poll that showed up on my feed found that 55% of employees would leave their current job if they were made to go back to work in the office 5 days a week. People have discovered the benefits of a flexible job and are very reluctant to go back after working from home for over a year.

We have obviously seen a huge change in the traditional workplace in the last year… client and team meetings have moved to Microsoft Teams, Google Hangout and Zoom. Events and conferences have moved online as webinars and work events have become video call quiz nights.

When polled how often employees would want to work from home the most responses range from 1-4 days a week. The continuation of most companies in the last year has proven that the need for an office, a desk and a manager overlooking you is not always necessary.

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What’s exciting about all of these stats?

Although the pandemic has been difficult economically, emotionally and from a health and safety standpoint, we can see there has been a lot of optimism and possibility surrounding the workplace. It has jumpstarted important changes in the workplace that are moving with the evolution of technology.

These figures are forcing employers to look at their companies and re-evaluate how they run ‘business-as-usual and they need to address any gaps that have emerged in their business. Policy, technology, culture still need time to catch up with working-from-home becoming the new usual, but employers are presented with significant opportunities for the future.

What can you do?

As an employer, the best thing you can do for your business is to ensure you have a happy and motivated workforce. Giving them the flexibility to work remotely, even a few days a week, could see major improvements in productivity, creativity, and initiative, as seen in the polls below by @Ryan Holme.

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However, the need for social contact is still there, it’s helpful to catch up in person every once in a while. Employers should still have meeting schedules when work goes back to normal, but also create time blocks for connections that are critical for developing team culture.

This could mean hosting virtual office hours where a manager’s “Zoom door” is open for anyone to pop in. Or setting expectations that employees who are on-site are not just there for in-person meetings. Ensure there are times for people to just sit together and work or to have more casual connections, so teams can show their work in process.

Alice Baker, Digital Marketing Executive, Sierra Six Media