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Remote Work: Will Home Office Be the Work Model of the Future?
Your own home as your working space? No long ways to work, no perfect styling, and less stress in the morning? The advantages of working from home for employees are clear. But what are the advantages for companies if they offer flexible working? Furthermore, for employees, there are disadvantages as well, which could develop into burnout. Read more about actual studies regarding home office, productivity, and potential risks, and about future perspectives in this article.
Before the corona pandemic, flexible working was an option too, but it was far less common before 2020. Just a few companies offered this working model. Meanwhile, this concept – also for more conservative companies – is normality. In the world of work, you can feel an international rethink. But what are the advantages and disadvantages of remote working? What makes employees suffer, what is their profit?
Study Results About Home Office in the Future
In a report of the Capgemini Research Institute (2020) 500 organizations and 5000 professionals worldwide were asked. “The future of work: From remote to hybrid” underlines, that remote working is the new normality. 75 percent of the organisations expect at least 30 percent of their employees, that they work remotely. Over 30 percent expect that 70 percent of them work via the home office.
It is shown, that on the one hand home office boosts productivity (about 63 percent) and on the other saves costs (up to 24 percent in the 3rd quarter 2020). While almost 70 percent of the companies expect those advantages also after the pandemic, employees fear possible long-term consequences, like burnout. Over 63 percent of the people between 31 and 35 years even feel burned out, when their home is their working place at the same time. It is not enough to just provide your employees with work equipment. Much more important is, that supervisors take care of the changing needs and behaviours of their workforce.
Advantages Home Office
Many workers are happier in-home office, caused by the flexible working options. They are talking about a better work-life balance and a better compatibility between job and family. Their reason for it is, that their work surrounding is at their homes. Also, that they do not have to commute. Three-quarters of the respondents also want to work, at least partly, remote after the corona pandemic (DAK-Gesundheitsreport, 2020).
A study from the University of Konstanz has shown, that over 85 percent of the employees rate their work from home as productive. Most they like the fact, that they have more freedom with organizing their work during the day. Employees have more time left because they do not have to commute anymore, so they feel less stressed: no traffic jams, no car rides, or using public transport.
Disadvantages of Home Office
Some companies do not have the appropriate resources to provide their workforce with smooth remote working. Some organistic, procedural and technical aspects lag behind. Regarding a survey of employees in Switzerland, each second company has no infrastructure for digital communication (Future Work Group in cooperation with FH Nordwestschweiz FHNW, 2020).
Another study has shown that 52 percent of the participants felt more stress and anxiety in their jobs in 2020. 68 percent even said that their mental health was affected as well. Further on, 41 percent admitted that they were overwhelmed by the amount of work. For 42 it was not easy to keep their performance level (Oracle und Workplace Intelligence, 2020). Do you already know how stressed you are at the moment?
A survey of DAK-Gesundheitsreports (2020) also shows:
- Three quarters do not like that they have a lack of direct contact to their colleagues
- 48 percent miss that there is no opportunity for spontaneous meetings
- 41 percent do not have access to files, or similar working material
- Especially for younger people it is not easy to separate private and career (50 percent).
Home Office: An Outlook
Basically, there seem to be far more advantages than disadvantages about working from home. Nevertheless, there are aspects that should be focused even more in the future, if this working model should also be important after the pandemic. For example:
- Taking care of everyone’s mental health
- Expansion of digitalisation
- Optimization of the communication channels
- Appropriate work equipment and surroundings while home office
- Integrating the needs of the workforce
Problems While Working from Home
An example out of real-life should underline the possible problems with home office: Claudia is a single mum. Even, if kindergartens and schools are open – as soon as the children are at home, it is not easy for her to focus on work. Also, she has no separate working room. Therefore, she works from her kitchen, and why she has a hard time to separate career and private. This makes her feel unhappy. She also would need more direct contact with her colleagues, and she feels more and more exhausted. Claudia also has troubles with organizing her day.
Home Office and Burnout
The problem with working from home could be for example:
- Structuring everyday life
- Distancing from work after it
- Mixing job and private life
- Constant availability for family members
Especially children must understand that you are physically here, but not available now. Single parents could feel more stressed out, which could cause even more trouble. A perfect ground for burnout.
Psychological Online Counselling When There is a Risk for Burnout
Here psychological online counselling could help well. Together with a psychologist, you find new solutions and ways to handle the actual situation better. You do not have to wait like it is common for a therapy spot offline. Online counselling is 100% anonymous and secure, and it is possible to use it wherever you live. It does not matter, if you are a leader who is overwhelmed by his current situation, or if one of your employees is affected: Instahelp counselling helps you back to your mental wellbeing.