• Luke Mitchell

Effects of Covid-19: WFH – love it or hate it, you may have to embrace it.

As a quarter of the world’s population has been forced in to some form of lockdown amid this pandemic, I was eager to spend some time assessing the changes that we are currently enduring which may continue post crisis. How will work life, urban life and family life look after Covid-19?


Starting with your new office location...


If you were unfamiliar with working from home before the Pandemic, you’ll be fully informed now and the likelihood is, that this is going to be here for the foreseeable future.


In general, most large corporates had remote working facilities already set up, the problems they faced were whether they had the capacity to manage their entire workforce on a remote basis. From my conversations, this challenge has largely been overcome, so will there be a need for fancy offices in the most prestigious locations anymore? Is there an argument that these are a waste of money? Office costs are certainly one of the largest fixed costs for any business, so once Covid-19 is over, surely an assessment will be made as to whether there is a necessity to revert to large scale offices keeping employees under one roof. I believe WFH could be the new normal, for many employees at companies that occupy expensive real estate.


One alternative will be Hot Desking, but on an accelerated level, a procedure which means there are less desks in the office than employees who work there.


For the SMEs, the shift to WFH has been an enforced task. Whilst SMEs don’t have the pressures of server capacity, they face the task of calculating how daily operations can be facilitated remotely. These companies have rapidly enabled plans to aid staff who now need to work from their homes and the consensus, is that workers are embracing this alteration.

Albeit office costs are still a large expense for SMEs, office atmosphere is invaluable to it’s employees and chances of success. I don’t think you can put a price on the office buzz, with that being said, I envisage a return to office-working being relished by employees in the long-term. From an employer’s perspective, it could be argued that so long as its workforce are motivated and fulfilled in their roles, WFH vs Office based, it doesn’t really matter providing productivity is sustained.


Employee retention


No matter whether you’re a large conglomerate or a SME, employees won’t forget how they’ve been treated during extraordinary events such as Covid-19, those employers who behave compassionately will earn staff loyalty and be rewarded through enhanced engagement from its workforce.


Many businesses will have to Furlough large amounts of it’s workforce, this is a reality and in many cases, critical to their survival. Dealing with this is tricky and how they approach this topic with it’s employees is vital, coherent communication is a necessity during times of crisis. If employees are treated poorly during a period of uncertainty such as a pandemic, it’s likely they will begin to look elsewhere as they feel they cannot be looked after during desperate times, then the employer doesn’t deserve to benefit from the fruitful times that will return.

I see a large shift in the employee turnover rate, with the most likely question during an interview (probably virtual) nowadays being:

“How did you offer support and assistance to your workforce during the Coronavirus pandemic?" 


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