Working from home: will this mean the end of the office?

Watch a report by ITV News Anglia's Tanya Mercer

Over the past few months, many of us have adapted to home working and all the technology it involves. But what impact has it had on businesses and employees? 

Evidence suggests it has changed some mindsets and practices for good and a lot more of us could be working from home from now on.  

Carl Ketteringham working at home Credit: ITV News Anglia

Carl Ketteringham is a project manager in the offshore wind industry. Normally he'd travel thousands of miles every week. 

But now, instead of jumping on a plane, he now gets up early to fit in with different time zones and heads to his home office.  He says it's worked so well it's reshaping how they could work in the future. 

I’d do a 16 hour flight to Taiwan. Get over the jet lag, go into the office for a week and then fly back. I’d do that once a month and European trips during the other three weeks. Working from home is definitely going to be the way going forward.  It’s a lot more efficient. We’re straight on the computer from the first ten minutes of being up in the morning.

Carl Ketteringham

Millions of people have been adjusting to the new normal and discovering working from home is now an option.  But the question is how will our working lives look going forward? 

Will more of us stay at home working? Credit: ITV News Anglia

As rules are eased, organisations are having to decide if and how to reoccupy offices. 

Managers will need to balance between the advantages of face-to-face interactions with employees and remote-working and work if international travel is worth the cost and the risk of staff having to quarantine.

Credit: Working families

Experts say there is a lot of reshaping to come, but this crisis has made long-term changes to business-practices and mindsets. 

We can expect that remote work will be a lot more common in the future, even if the Covid situation improves. Organisations have realised they don’t need as much real estate or office space. They might need less travel. We will work in new remote ways with new tools emerging. The changes we’ve experienced with Covid are here to last.

Thomas Roulet, Cambridge Judge Business School

The charity Working Families is calling for a fundamental rethink of jobs.  

Will you stay at home or return to the office? Credit: PA

We really want to capitalise on the new found flexibility and create some momentum around this continuing. We don’t want UK workplaces going back to a 9 to 5 rigid modus operandi after the pandemic has passed.

Julia Waltham, Working Families

All this change has been a huge boost for Smart Garden Offices based near Bury St Edmunds.  They've seen a 45% increase in demand since lockdown began. 

Garden offices like this are proving extremely popular Credit: ITV News Anglia

The situation has dictated that people have had to work from home and employers are now seeing that it works. Changes have been made and organisations are investing in it as a longer-term commitment.  These buildings are no longer being seen as a luxury product, but a necessity.

Chief Executive Matt Moss

Uncertainty and social distancing could be with us for a long time yet but from this could come opportunities for those of us who approach our work in completely different ways, providing benefits both to ourselves and the environment.