Are we going to work from home forever?

"It is hard to say how many people are back in the office, but the romanticism of working from home is certainly fading. People want to get back to work, but a lot depends on the buildings. Smaller buildings are definitely filling up where people can get in and out easily," says Linda Trim, sales and marketing director at Giant Leap. David Bernstein, director at Pulse HR Consulting, has noticed a hybrid approach where possible, with industry and business-specific staff returning to work on short-time or split-shift work. Although the technology is available, Trim says she does not believe it...
"It is hard to say how many people are back in the office, but the romanticism of working from home is certainly fading. People want to get back to work, but a lot depends on the buildings. Smaller buildings are definitely filling up where people can get in and out easily," says Linda Trim, sales and marketing director at Giant Leap.

David Bernstein, director at Pulse HR Consulting, has noticed a hybrid approach where possible, with industry and business-specific staff returning to work on short-time or split-shift work.

Although the technology is available, Trim says she does not believe it can replace human interaction, because 55% of communication is non-verbal.

"Many people are struggling with zoom fatigue and nothing can replace serendipitous communication or the water cooler."

There has been a belief it would be cost-saving to let people work from home, but Trim thinks it is short-sighted, because companies are obliged to meet specific ergonomic requirements at an office. Companies will also need to look at alternative power supply as load shedding continues.

Bernstein says that companies and employees are starting to settle into a modernised way of working with technology, which creates a requirement for strong change-management and adaptability that requires updated policies, procedures and systems.

Trim is also worried about the mental challenges of working from home. "It is almost impossible to on-board new staff members and integrate them into a team. Social fibres will never be as strong as it was if we keep people at home. It will have a direct impact on socialisation and collaboration, as well as innovation."

Bernstein thinks it is unlikely that we will see a new full high-rise office building, but rather more flexible working conditions, with smaller office space and more meeting rooms and hot-desk space.

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