As we all know, the 23rd March 2021 marked the 1 year anniversary of the first Lockdown. It also, for many, marked the anniversary of us doing away with the usual working practice of being in the office 9-5, 5 days a week, and moving into the new world of homeworking.
For me personally, I think I have been back to the office about 2 or 3 times… and that was purely to pick up some equipment… a file here and there. So I haven’t actually needed to be in the office for me to be able to get my work done.
For a lot of people we have now entered this world where working from home has kind of become the new normal and with that has been some huge benefits but also some negatives. For me, I have loved the ability of just being able to throw a wash on whenever I want, being able to be slightly more flexible with my day and also (the BIGGIE for me) having no commute. On the other hand I have missed the social aspects of going into the office, being able to pop over for a chat and also, as a Trainee, not having those little adhoc learning moments of just been whizzed into a client meeting at the last minute.
Well it seems that the working from home life and the ability to have greater flexible hours might actually become a permanent feature of our lives after COVID-19. The government are planning to start a public consultation later this year on how to extend flexible working, potentially ensuring that people who have transitioned to a hybrid of home and office working during the pandemic will be able to maintain that pattern. The plan is that this will help strengthen employees’ rights to work from home or at least have greater opportunities to request different hours.
I think a lot of employers used to be completely against home working and would probably have dreaded any such request. However, I feel that this past year has shown quite clearly that homeworking is actually a viable option for many. Now I am not one for change… and at first this new norm was hard to adapt too… but I must say I feel that this might be one of the better changes to come out of this pandemic.
If this is going to be a permanent feature in our lives, then can you as an employer say, hand on heart, that you truly have all of the correct procedures and processes in place? I think for employers this is something that has been easily forgotten, lost in the panic of this past year. But as we have all become a bit more settled in this new way of life, it’s a key time to make sure you are covering all bases.