IOD survey finds most businesses are set to resume office use post-pandemic
Business leaders plan a return to the office long-term despite remote working revolution.
According to a recent survey of 958 business leaders by the Institute of Directors, notwithstanding the shift towards home working, most businesses will be returning to the office when the coronavirus crisis is over.
While a high percentage of directors said they will retain some home working arrangements, 30 per cent said their use of the office would be unchanged going forward.
Commenting on the findings the IoD said “the benefits of the office haven’t gone away”, warning that the prospect of employees working from home long-term could raise many legal questions regarding the responsibility of employers for their staff.
Director of policy for the IoD, Roger Barker said: “Working from home doesn’t work for everyone, and directors must be alive to the downsides. Managing teams remotely can prove far from straightforward, and directors must make sure they are going out of their way to support employees’ mental wellbeing.
“Shared workspace often provides employees the opportunity for informal development and networking that is so crucial, particularly early on in a career,” he added.
A separate study published in September identified that 66 percent of UK companies believe that remote working has been to the detriment to the enthusiasm and motivation of employees. The survey of over 1,500 office-based businesses revealed that office working is no match for home working when it comes to innovation, creativity, motivation and productivity which can only be achieved through face-to-face collaboration.
64 per cent also cited the negative impact on staff morale due to remote working, with just 23 per cent reporting increased productivity or enhanced motivation when working from home.
Meanwhile, Bank of England chief economist, Andy Haldane, has this week suggested that working from home could be damaging work relationships, people’s ‘social capital’, as well as seeing them working longer hours. Haldane believes it remains to be seen whether working from home is a positive thing for individuals, with the jury still being out on the full longer term effects of working from home on the wellbeing of staff.
Speaking to City am, Haldane admitted he personally “feels acutely” the loss of social interaction, saying also that he misses the “chance conversation, listening to very different people with very different lived experiences, the exposure to new ideas and experiences.
“Home working can starve us of many creative raw ingredients – the chance conversation, the new person or idea or environment.”