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Working world during confinement – a step further to the workplace of the XXI century?

Thanks to the Covid-19-confinement, the world represents currently a gigantic test lab for researchers of all known (and maybe even today unknown) disciplines.

Its impact on the office-working world is indescribably huge, as the majority of office workers is obliged to practice home office. That had been, up to now, the privilege or the duty of a “happy few”.

The actively outside working professions are quite limited, we can find medical staff, police, army, cashiers, lorry drivers, waste collection people, farmers and some other professions providing the confined population with basic essential products.

Are those the professions of the future, professions that are really necessary to keep the world going?

What is going to happen after the confinement, will the home office workers stay in their home office or are they going to return to their physical office space?

Is the office working world going to continue as before or will the longtime confinement bring a change in the working culture?

Having asked several persons from different European countries and different professions and sectors, how they felt and experienced their home office, I received some quite astonishing answers. I expected to hear about increased personal productivity because of less interruptions and a better time management. The result of my little poll was the following:

100% : The social side of being at the workplace is essential. All the interviewed persons were missing the social contacts at work, during coffee breaks or lunches, in meetings, or even while commuting. The fear of losing the social component exists.

Concerning time-management: 75% were mentioning the time factor in their answers, but 56% in these 75% were quite flexible in their daily time-management, 22% had the typical office hours with no flexibility, 11% declared working in- and outside office hours because of a technical breakdown due to an overload of the system and 11% had to do home-office 7 days a week, working in the administrative part of the hospital sector.

50% felt they were more productive in their work, as around them was less noise and no interruptions and they had the impression to have more time.

25% stated that they were missing “mandatory movement”: having to walk to the public transports, through the office rooms…

25% complained about having taken weight on as they were apparently only sitting at home working in front of their computer and eating.

25% had the impression that the borders between the private and the professional zones of their life were disappearing.

16% felt even more observed and controlled during the home office by their bosses than in the physical office.

16% expressed that videoconferences were more motivating than conferences over the phone as the participants could see each other.

16% appreciated not seeing “toxic” colleagues in the home office

8% estimated being less productive, as the information chain was somehow disrupted through the confinement.

8% did not see the purpose of their work, even less since starting home office.

8% understood even better the purpose of their work since the beginning of the confinement.

8% had the impression that the team spirit got lost.

The interviewed persons expressed for the future of their workplace that:

- they want to keep the social component which is essential

- they appreciate home office but not at 100%, a tailor-made office / home office solution per employee might be a solution

Which conclusions can we draw from these quite contrary opinions?

The workplace of the XXI century is not going to consist of home office only, as it is not fully appreciated by everyone.

Back to the basics – everything starts with the social interactions and exclusively working from home is not the desire of every employee.

Real conclusions might be drawn if the corporate world changes their company culture following this “test-lab”-phase due to confinement.

Berg Global Consulting proposes means to enhance the social component by introducing a transparent internal communication. Contact us to define your new workplace for the future.

How do you experience your home office?

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