A global survey of more than 40,000 people on working from home, carried out by property services group Cushman & Wakefield, points toward a shift from office-based working to a balance of operating from home, the office and other locations.
The survey, considered the largest of its kind on home-working experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic, lifts the lid on how employees have been coping with work from home life and what the future will look like as offices start to reopen.
The results of Cushman & Wakefield’s survey come following a poll conducted by The Guild of Property Professionals, which found that a third of estate agencies would have some of their staff working from home permanently once the pandemic ends.
Respondents to Cushman & Wakefield’s survey represent approximately 30 companies across nearly 20 industries.
According to the survey, the use of remote technology has strengthened team collaboration and productivity during the pandemic. Across the property industry in particular, estate agents have turned to video technology as an alternative to in-person viewings.
Three quarters of respondents to C&W’s survey reported that they agree or strongly agree that collaboration with their colleagues has been effective amid coronavirus, representing a 10% increase when compared with data collected just prior to the COVID-19 crisis.
Meanwhile, 73% of survey respondents wanted their employer to adopt flexible working policies on a long-term or permanent basis.
Commenting on the survey results, Executive Chairman and CEO of C&W Brett White, said:
“It’s crucial to recognise that the future of the workplace looks like something outside a single location. Rather, the workplace of the future will be an ecosystem, a variety of locations and experiences that support flexibility, functionality and employee wellbeing.”
However, Mr White went on to stress that C&W expects footprint sizes for current real estate to remain steady:
“Fewer people may be in the office at one time as a result of flexible working practices, but that space-saving is offset by the need to adhere to social distancing in the office.”
Despite the positives of home-working, the survey did raise some downsides, most notably the loss of human connection and social bonding, which has negatively impacted corporate culture and learning. Meanwhile, younger generations are reporting more challenges working from home, according to C&W’s report.
Co-author of the study and Head of Workplace and Business Performance at C&W, Despina Katsikakis, said:
“Looking to the future, the office will serve a new purpose: to provide inspiring destinations that strengthen cultural connection, enhance learning, encourage bonding among colleagues and customers, and foster creativity and innovation.”