So, a couple of announcements this week has prompted me to have a think about where we are going when it comes to Working From Home.
BP announced that going forward it was ‘expecting’ its workforce to work from home two days a week. This will impact 25,000 employees. The other announcement was that since the first lockdown a year ago the number of pets in the UK has risen by over 3 million.
It’s clear from these seemingly unrelated facts that the world as we knew it back at the start of 2020 is not going to return.
BP as a multi-national oil company have seen their bottom line plummet since the start of the pandemic. This, following on from a slump in oil prices has meant a long hard look at costs to try and limit losses.
What I find interesting, is the way that BP have stated that their hybrid work from home policy is NOT, as you might have expected, an employee benefit but very clearly a cost saving measure. BP must surely not be alone in recognising that, not only has productivity gone up since people have been working from home (one report claims 47%) but costs have significantly reduced.
Many other companies must be doing the same calculations and figuring that it makes sense to keep people working at home as much as possible. Whether they say as much, or, claim that it’s for the employees benefit, remains to be seen.
The work from home benefits for Employers
- It’s not just the lower costs that would be attractive to employers. With the flexibility of home working for all it will create a happier, more contented (and therefore less likely to leave) workforce.
- Rather than employ from the talent in a confined geographical area, the employer can widen the talent pool and recruit people globally as there are less constraints.
- Longer term, the employer may come to realise that having a remote workforce is a permanent move and may even decide to outsource support departments rather than keep in-house as a cheaper option.
On the other side of the coin, pet ownership has risen by over three million in the last year. Not only is this a huge number but it shows a public that are looking at being around to care for a pet.
Appreciate that some of these pets may be cats, who really don’t mind, but dogs generally shouldn’t be left alone all day depending on circumstances. There is a possibility that some workers may return to the office so have really taken that into consideration after accepting the responsibility for a new pet? Having a dog means taking it for walks twice a day, it means caring for it and that is a commitment that may not equate to returning to working in an office full time.
Other Benefits to the Employee
Being allowed to work from home reduces commute times to zero and allows people more quality time with family and friends (There’s nothing better than being at home when your children come in from school so they can share their day).
It also reduces transport costs on commuting, as well as the environmental benefits of less reduction in pollution in some cities by 60%.
Being at home during the week allows people more time at the weekend to spend on things they want to do such as hobbies as tasks that would have had to have been done then can be spread throughout the week (think washing / ironing / dishes / cleaning)
Gives people flexibility - no more missed deliveries during the week.
It’s clear that there are huge benefits to both employers and employees from adopting a work from home policy. It will be interesting to see, now Pandora’s box has been opened, if both recognise the advantages over the disadvantages and adapt to this new approach or if, given the choice, they revert back to the status quo of BC (Before Covid).
Do you agree with this article or do you think that things will revert back to how they were before the pandemic? I would love to hear from you. Let me know in the comments below.
Author: Dave Woodward, Home Office Helps - A blog covering the best in home office equipment.
Simple WFH is a Home Office Furniture store offering home office desks, chairs & accessories.