NEW WAY OF WORKING: REMOTE WORKING, FLEXIBLE WORKING
Technology has allowed us to take the office with us anywhere. To be honest, this article is getting written on a train to London on a Sunday afternoon. There are at least four other people that have devices out next to me catching up on email, watching videos or generally surfing the net. So how does technology affect the way we work?
Flexibility is the big keyword this year, with 4.2 million of people in the UK working from home as part of their day to day job. The traditional 9 to 5 working hours are seeing a major disruption as we work in a changing global village to fit around family commitments.
Opinions towards work/life balance have also changed, with greater emphasis on spending time with friends and family. Unify’s New Global survey found that 43% of employees would rather have flexible working hours, rather than a small pay rise.
New tools are being created around allowing teams to work from anywhere in the world. Virtual meeting spaces or messaging services such as Slack and free conference calling such as Google Hangouts, could eliminate the need for a whole team to be in the same room all the time. New tools are always being developed to help this agile way of working, not just in tech but across the startup spectrum.
Does this mean that the office space is going to be defunct? Nope, not even a little bit. The office as we know it is going through an evolution. We are looking to be looking for more flexible work spaces where we can drop in and out as our job and lives require.
Not everyone will want to work from home. Besides the inevitable in the home bills, there will be push back from many workers who enjoy spending time with their colleagues. Having human interaction on a daily basis is good for mental health. A UK Public Health Study study found that risk of mental health increases when a person is left for long periods of time. The same study found that, women were 6% more at risk of depression from isolation particularly during maternity leave.
Office spaces and furniture will need to go through a sort of revolution in the UK. As workers become more flexible with their time, hot-desking will become more in-demand to save on costs. Desks will need to be able to move around with the user or be quickly adjustable for hundreds of people using the same office furniture. Companies are going to need to start making investments in ergonomic furniture now in order to retain talent demands of flexible working across the UK.
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