The coronavirus has democratized home office this year to fight the pandemic, a new way of life that has its consequences and benefits for both employees and employers.
A dream for some, a nightmare for others. Many governments and companies around the world have asked their citizens or employees to start home office to fight against the spread of the coronavirus, once again in March and again in the second wave of Covid-19. The United Kingdom is no exception to this new way of life and the new questions that raise.
The City of London is empty because of coronavirus
Home office has changed the lives of all Londoners, but has particularly affected the City of London. This district, the business heart of the British capital, has been beating at a new pace in recent months. Employees are leaving the offices of buildings to work from home and of the 500,000 regular employees, only 40% have returned to the companies.
A general decline in activity can easily be observed while strolling around the City of London. Shops, restaurants, bars, cafés, pubs, suffer greatly from the departure of employees, their usual customers. Companies have to pay astronomical rents in one of the most expensive areas of the capital to occupy empty offices. Yet 78% of employees want to stay home to work, a European record.
Is home office an additional cost for employees?
However, a study, shared by The Times, from Harvard Business School and New York University, estimated that employees work an average of 49 minutes more per day when they work from home, compared to a typical day at work. That’s four hours of overtime per week.
It can also increase some employee costs. Wikipower, a Belgian company developing an energy comparator website, has published a study, relayed by several local media, on the additional cost of electricity that home office entails for employees. Between the use of the computer, lights, or heating, an employee working from home would see his bill increased by 12 to 18 euros per month.
Other additional expenses must be taken into account depending on the profile, such as childcare outside of school periods, or internet subscription. Travel between home and work or fewer lunches outdoors are examples of expenses that are less expensive for employees working from home. Some companies offer compensations, but they are difficult to obtain within the framework of the changes imposed by Covid-19, which implies occasional and non-structural home office.
Employees advocate a hybrid work for the future
While workers were initially attracted to work from home, according to a study by Barco, a company specializing in videoconferencing technologies, they would like to see a hybrid form of home office in the future. The latter could consist of part of the week spent working from home and part of the week spent in the company.
42% of British employees feel that they lack social life in the office. Moreover, the isolation over a long period of time that home office can generate has consequences for the physical and psychological health of workers. But little data is currently available on this subject. And you, rather team home office or team back to work?