With most UK workers forced to work from home during the Covid-19 lockdown, both employers and employees who have adapted well to new ways of working are now looking to shift to a more permanent arrangement.
A recent study of 1,000 office workers from Get Living, the UK’s leading build to rent operator, looked at attitudes towards homeworking both pre lockdown and during lock down and found that 63% of employees want to be able to continue working from home, suggesting they can fulfill their roles remotely, while enjoying some of the perks of remote working.
Get Living – which offers homes for rent in big city neighbourhoods and partners with employers to help find housing solutions for their people – found that around a third of those surveyed (32%) believed working from home has boosted productivity and 33% felt their creativity had increased.
Though 53% still struggled with increased distractions from children, pets, and partners, with 38% admitting to finding it difficult to maintain a work/home balance. As more people return to work and children return to school, it’s expected that the juggling of family life and work during the day will relieve some of those tensions, but having space to separate home from work was also seen as key.
The lockdown survey revealed that a clearly designated home working space is important, with almost half of workers creating their own working area in their homes and 21% invested in buying new furniture.
So, as the lines between home and work lives are blurred further, employers and HR teams will need to consider whether their people have the right set-up at home to work safely and productively, to support their wellbeing from afar.
Commenting on the findings Ian Gibbs, Director of Neighbourhoods at Get Living said: “In this ‘lockdown’ world which we’ve now found ourselves in, an employer’s duty of care no longer exists solely in the office, but it extends to the homes’ of its people.
“It is evident from the survey that space is what people value most when it comes to working well from home. These spaces need to be somewhere which allow people’s personal and working lives to not only co-exist, but to separate from one another at the end of a working day.”
Those who are now considering homeworking long-term, may also be thinking about whether their current home is the best environment for that lifestyle and looking to move to somewhere that better suits their needs.
Get Living rents more than 3,000 homes across its neighbourhoods in London and Manchester where there are amenity spaces and retailers which can also be used as home offices.
Ian adds: “Not everyone will have the benefit of having a spare room to convert into an office, but a productive work environment is key; shared work spaces, like we have in our resident club rooms, which allow people to work closer to home, will become more sought after.
“After our research showed that a third of homeworkers are using the time saved on their commute to focus on their physical and mental health, we know that local amenities which support a positive work/life balance i.e. green spaces and gyms, will play an even more important role as we think about what we really need on our doorstep.”
Through its large employer partnership scheme, Get Living now works with top employers including Deloitte, Co-op, Francis Crick Institute, Linklaters and the Met Police to offer exclusive concessions for their staff including rent discounts and WiFi upgrades.
Ian adds: “More than ever businesses are recognising the importance in taking a vested interest in the living situations of their people to support their overall wellbeing. Wellbeing at work starts at home and we are working with employers close to our neighbourhoods to ensure we can support this by offering well-managed, well-placed homes designed to make living and working as simple and stress free as possible.”
On top of its market-leading no deposits and longer tenancies offering, as well as upgraded superfast fibre optic broadband, Get Living has also invested in weekly online events for its residents at East Village E20, Stratford (Zone 2/3) and Elephant Central, Elephant and Castle (Zone 1) and New Maker Yards in Salford, Manchester.
These include weekly pub quizzes and virtual arts & crafts workshops. It has also partnered with independent retailers and businesses to provide ‘Live Sessions’ including cookery classes, workouts dance and music lessons.