There has been something of a concerted campaign around the UK to get people back to work - rather meaning to try to get people back into working in their traditional town and city-centre offices - something that nowadays looks very much like an antiquated construct. Some years ago working from home had something of a stigma attached to it - and home-workers were often viewed as somewhat slackers and certainly not the most productive of highest echelon professionals. And even with the enormous weight of proof - many social commentators are still delivering somewhat disconcerting critiques of this very current phenomenon.
Yet even while the Coronavirus Pandemic lingers and really regardless, the better and smarter choice in lots of instances has proven to be to give staff the flexibility and safety of a domestic work environment. For many individuals much or most of the working day is now computer-based - sometimes with a headset, and sometimes fully isolated in full concentration mode.
We at Affino have been Home Working (as well as from business clubs) for well over a decade now, and we are fortunate that our SaaS business can largely be run and staffed entirely remotely. In fact 2020 has been something of a revolution in terms of new in-depth contract negotiations taking place entirely online for the first time in the company’s history.
Face-to-Face meetings nowadays means Zoom, Skype, Microsoft Teams, On24 and Webex. For our staff most activities are routed through our own Affino Platform and Skype - while we make use of a number of other cloud sourced technologies to ongoingly schedule, coordinate and collaborate on projects internally and with clients.
Much has been made of certain city centre businesses missing out - and for sure coffee and sandwich runs will be curtailed to a degree - as will things like commuter newspapers. But it need not be all bad news for the economy as those moneys not spent at M&S and Pret will end up in mostly local businesses and will be spent on other things - including more leisure activities. It is also a great opportunity for retailers to start branching back out into smaller towns and communities.
In the meantime these changes will do untold good for the environment in reducing on-the-road traffic and heavily congested commuter journeys - with a lot less pollution. It should bring a better balance to family life all-round and generally be of benefit to most household which are able to participate in this manner.
Many still question how people can concentrate at home with all the daily distractions - but then forget about the typical chaos of constant distractions in open-plan offices. I personally have always found that I work better at home - I actually have less problems with Internet access and am generally more comfortable and more motivated to work. Moreover - the fact that there is constant easy access to work resources - means that it’s easier to carry on working on certain projects and more proficiency and productivity in getting those projects over the line.
Obviously families with a number of small children, poor connectivity, and the lack of personal space, won’t be able to operate to the same degree of success - but for a lot of people - with a little due diligence - you can sort of silo yourself away from daily distractions and just get absorbed in your work. I of course wholly understand that not all are lucky enough to be able to work from home - and many will still have to commute to a centralised place of work.
However - having more people working from home brings all kinds of positives and benefits to society and local communities. For sure certain types of business may suffer and have to adapt in the transition, but overall it’s all very much a force for good!