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Back in March 2020, the United Kingdom was facing a unique challenge. We were placed into a national lockdown, which meant we couldn’t go to our usual favourite restaurants, there wouldn’t be any family barbecues in the garden, and you were more than likely to begin working from home. For many, this would be an entirely new path in their work-life routine. In April of 2020, 46.6% of people in employment began to work from home. Now, it is June of 2021, and many have grown accustomed to the office being in their lounge. So, how has working from home affected the nation, do the advantages outweigh the disadvantages? Or is the office environment vital for higher productivity, teamwork and health?
To begin, there are many clear advantages to working from home for any individual. You don’t have to wake up early to get ahead of the rush hour traffic. You will be saving money each day on lunch, and running car costs. You don’t even have to iron your favourite outfit the evening before work. However, there are many more important reasons as to why working from can benefit a business, as well as the people working within it.
Technology is always improving and being reinvented, and the recent influx in working from home has allowed creators to fill in any gaps that could have made this experience more difficult. For example, in a very short time, Zoom became a household name. Zoom is a programme that aims to make communication a simple process over the internet. They boast a 150-millisecond latency, which is a very short amount of time for users to react to what is being said to them, helping the natural feel and flow of conversation. In 2019, Zoom had 30 million daily users. Then, in June 2020, Zoom had 300 million people using their software every day.
With technology improving, and being user friendly and free to use, it helped to keep productivity high during the lockdown, and for the future of working from home life. In my experience working from home over this year, I have found that programmes such as Microsoft Teams, Zoom and Dropbox have allowed our team to keep working to the highest capacity. There is no doubt that some workplaces would have been negatively impacted throughout this change, but if you use the tools that are available to your advantage, communication, teamwork and productivity should not be affected.
A study was carried out by Global Workplace Analytics to discover how working from home affects productivity. The study used telecommuting employees, and they discovered a 20% to 25% increase in productivity compared to their office colleagues. This was due to fewer opportunities to socialise with their peers, there are more moments where they could take breaks to relax, and they were in an environment that is comfortable. Psychologist, Meg Selig, says that this is what helps individuals to boost their overall performance, keep motivation high, and generate new creative ideas.
Working from home can also be a good economical choice for businesses. A company with fewer employees would help to reduce rent and utility costs, which is one of the largest payments businesses have to make. Tax is another important factor, which can be affected by sales, property and payroll. If a business can make changes to at least one of these factors due to their employees working from home, then this could help with a business’s finances.
Of course, some people will not enjoy working from home. This could be down to what their home life is like. Maybe they don’t have a strong internet connection, they might not have up-to-date devices such as mobile phones and laptops. They could also simply not enjoy being away from their colleagues and find communicating over Zoom or Microsoft Teams isn’t as effective as being in an office where your questions can be answered face-to-face. This could be simply due to office life being all they know, and adjusting to the current work-life routine is difficult. I found working from home was unusual, to begin with, but after many successful and hard-working months, this lifestyle has become an easier, natural and a great way to work and be creative.
To conclude, working from home was a unique experience for many of our nation’s workers. For myself included, it was a new experience to learn how to work at my maximum capabilities, whilst also keeping communication at as high of a standard as it is when in the office. Over time though, with the help of technology and the team around me, it has become a very effective way to work. All the tools for a business to be successful whilst working from home are available. A hard-working team with strong synergy and a business that is willing to adjust to cater to their employees to make the transition successful is essential and very achievable.
Saffron Financial is the in-house direct lead generation arm of Saffron Asset Finance.
Saffron Financial provides brokerage services to businesses and individuals in the UK through a range of financial services.