Society changes and evolves all the time. Sometimes as a result of a shock (war for example) where things speed up or change direction completely. At the present, we are undergoing a digital revolution (If you had not realised) and its impact is becoming profound in how we live our daily lives.
In December 2019 a virus was identified as Covid 19 and within a few months, a worldwide pandemic had developed. As a result of this governments and companies began to react to this making changes to their priorities, structures and procedures.
Alongside the digital revolution taking place, many workers were suddenly asked/told to work from home whilst many were furloughed for many months. People discovered a new way of life, had more leisure time, less stress and surprisingly many became more productive. As the pandemic evolved we began to realise that some changes that would have taken years to be implemented had happened almost overnight. we discovered that we had reduced congestion and pollution, our work-life balance had improved. Not for everyone though, some were still going to work and working even harder, the NHS workers, for example, delivery companies. Sales from online shopping increased dramatically.
Now in March 2021, we are exploring possibilities about how we can retain this new lifestyle, for example, “the Welsh Government, Cardiff University and Admiral Group say they are all consulting with staff about a hybrid of home and office working.” “As part of our thinking, we are also exploring our estate’s footprint and the carbon emissions associated with our buildings and commuting to work,” the university said. BBC. Oil giant BP told office-based staff they would be expected to spend two days a week working from home after lockdown restrictions ease. Research proved productivity had increased for some with home working.
One of the problems arising from the pandemic is our retail sector and its focus on high streets and retail parks. Changes were already happening but now the high street faces a huge problem. Will the shoppers ever return? How many will return to offices? How many will continue to commute? What will happen to all that retail space now standing empty? To a large extent councils, landlords and retailers had been complacent about the digital revolution happening all around them, the pandemic caught them off guard. What you think you need as rent or rates is irrelevant if companies do not want your space.
Most companies are busy trying to rework their business model to survive this impact on our society. A friend ‘in the know’ thinks rail travel will be affected by a reduction of 20%. Shops, cafes, pubs and restaurants that largely relied on workers for their incomes will be hit badly if those very workers are working from home. However, the local businesses around the homes of these workers are picking up some new business.
Nationwide is to allow 13,000 office staff to choose where they work under a new flexibility scheme.
The UK’s biggest building society said its “work anywhere” plan would allow employees more control of their lives.
Under the plan, Nationwide is closing three offices in Swindon, with 3,000 staff either moving to the nearby HQ, working from home, or mixing the two.
Other UK staff may be able to work from their local High Street branch if they prefer, rather than travel to offices.
In a Nationwide survey of staff, 57% said they wanted to work from home full-time after lockdown ends. More than a third – 36% – said they preferred a mix of home and office-based work. The BBC.
Also for those that can! the coronavirus pandemic has changed the kind of property we want to buy or rent but, as lockdown restrictions ease, there are signs of a return to the old priorities due to a lower cost of living and reasonably high quality of life. House prices in some areas have soared. The popularity of rural or coastal life has become evident partly due to confidence in improving broadband, and the attraction of indoor and outdoor spaces are linked directly to the lifestyle lockdowns that have been forced upon most people in the last year. We are seeing the trend towards Digital Nomads speed up, where people travel and work at the same time. We have all noticed individuals working in the local coffee shop with their table set up like a portable office! For the price of a few coffees, they get free wi-fi, warmth, and a table to work at.
“… are people who use telecommunications technologies to earn a living and conduct their life in a nomadic manner. Such workers often work remotely from foreign countries, coffee shops, public libraries, co-working spaces, or recreational vehicles. It is often accomplished through the use of devices that have wireless Internet capabilities such as smartphones or mobile hotspots. Successful digital nomads typically have a financial cushion or need to develop high levels of self-reliance and self-discipline. ” Wikipedia
You can be sure of one thing, once a trend establishes itself it very rarely returns back to what was, especially if the financial benefits are good. For a lot of people life will never be the same again, hopefully in a good way.
The following type of personal attributes and skills are helpful if you need to work at home
- Good communication skills;
- Self-motivation and self-discipline;
- Ability to work effectively being managed from a distance;
- Good time management and the ability to complete work to deadlines;
employees with 26 weeks service have a statutory right to request flexible-working arrangements such as home working and you, as an employer, have to seriously consider such requests.
The Pros of Working from Home
- There is no commute.
- There is greater flexibility.
- You can reduce distractions.
- Your day is often less stressful.
- You can save money.
- You can improve your work/life balance.
The Cons of Working from Home
- You need a lot of self-discipline.
- It can be lonely.
- It’s harder to shut down.
- You lose living space.
- Relationships are harder to form.
- There’s less ad hoc learning
below are some sites that will give you great advice about working from home etc.
Note:- You cannot claim tax relief if you choose to work from home.
“You may be able to claim tax relief for additional household costs if you have to work at home on a regular basis, either for all or part of the week. This includes if you have to work from home because of coronavirus (COVID-19). Additional costs include things like heating, metered water bills, home contents insurance, business calls or a new broadband connection. They do not include costs that would stay the same whether you were working at home or in an office, such as mortgage interest, rent or council tax.
You may also be able to claim tax relief on equipment you’ve bought, such as a laptop, chair or mobile phone.”
7 simple tips to tackle working from home
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A Practical Guide to Working from Home: Covid-19 and beyond
This document provides guidance on how to manage regular or long-term working from home, which has been a requirement for many during the Covid pandemic, and may continue for some workers for the foreseeable future. – https://www.lra.org.uk/resources/practical-guide-working-home-covid-19-and-beyond
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A shift towards home working doesn’t mean employees have to work only at home. Often splitting time between home and the workplace is the most productive solution and you may want the homeworker to attend meetings to keep them fully involved and informed.
For further information see the Labour Relation Agency’s (LRA) practical guide to working from home: COVID-19 and beyond
21st March 2021