Covid-19 could be catalyst for remote working to become the norm

The coronavirus pandemic could be the catalyst for increased working from home in the future, a survey by global real estate advisor Colliers International has revealed.

 The ‘Working from home during COVID-19’ survey was launched by Colliers to discover people’s experiences of the shift to remote working introduced by businesses around the world in response to the coronavirus outbreak.

 Initial insights based upon over 3,000 responses from over 25 countries, from a broad spectrum of office-based professions, show that:
-  82% would like to work remotely one day a week or more after the COVID-19 crisis is over.
- 71% of people who had never worked from home before COVID-19 would like to work remotely at least one day a week in future.
- 53% of those surveyed believe their productivity has not changed as a result of working from home, and 24% believe their productivity has increased. However, 23% said their productivity has declined.

Chris McLernon, CEO for Europe, Middle East and Africa at Colliers International, said initial survey results indicated that the coronavirus pandemic would bring about fundamental changes in ways of working.

‘We are in the middle of the largest remote work trial in human history which will have a significant impact on the way we will work in the future,’ he said. ‘It is essential to understand how people are experiencing working from home during this challenging period, and this study from the Workplace Advisory team of Colliers International is uncovering unique global data that will help us to provide fact-based advice on short term improvements and long term impact. Already it is clear that many people are embracing working from home, and are likely to want to continue a certain level of remote working for part of the week, even when they are able to return to their offices.’
 
Differences were apparent between people who had recently started working from home, and people who had already been working from home for a couple of weeks. Of those who had already been working from home for four weeks because of Covid-19, only 7% wanted to go back to working in the office every day after the end of the pandemic. By contrast, among those who had been working from home for just a week a total of 22 per cent wanted to return to spending their working week in the office after Covid-19.

The survey also revealed that experiences of working from home differed between those with and without children in the house, and those with housemates.

A total of 33% of respondents reported having more distractions when working from home. The top distraction was identified as children, followed by other people in the household and pets. People living alone and those who live with a spouse or partner showed the lowest productivity decrease.
 
The main location for working from home was an enclosed room dedicated to work (39 per cent), followed by the living room (32 per cent), the bedroom (17 per cent) and the kitchen (15 per cent). The majority of those who live alone chose to work from their living rooms, but the majority of the people with children worked from an enclosed room dedicated to work.