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Will homeworking be the new normal?
The Covid-19 pandemic could permanently alter working patterns as companies that have been forced to embrace remote working find that their employees do not want to return to the office once the closures are lifted. Millions of people have experienced days without long commutes, or the ‘luxury’ of being able to stay close to home when a family member is sick.
It’s starting to look increasingly as if the situation will never go back to how it was as many employees for companies who have sent all staff home are already questioning why they had to go in to the office in the first place.
Large tech firms were amongst the first to make the switch to remote working for all of their staff, building on pre-existing infrastructure such as office chat groups, remote access to critical tools, and the fact that most knowledge work can easily be carried out remotely.
In Seattle, the hub of many of Americas’ early Covid-19 cases, companies including Amazon, LinkedIn, Microsoft and Google advised workers to stop coming into the office in late February.
These companies that embrace remote working in a crisis may find it sticks around as normality returns. It is harder to say no to employee requests for working from home if HR has already bought them a new desk and it is easier to view the investment as a sensible one if it pays off for years rather than months to come.
Only time will tell… but our money is on a long-term shift…