Will home working become the new norm post Covid-19?

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A Jersey employment lawyer has told ITV News he thinks it will be difficult for employers to refuse applications from their staff wishing to work from home beyond Covid-19.

For many people, working from home over the last few weeks has been a positive experience. Employers too have seen that this could form part of a new norm.

Legally, we can ask to work from home. Jersey's employment law states that employees can apply for a change in their working conditions, including their place of work.

The reasons for refusing such a request are fairly limited, and employers would have to show that working from home would either create additional cost or have a detrimental impact on their business.

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I think we're going to be in a different world. The feedback we've been getting since the lockdown is that people initially found it quite difficult. But they've got used to it now. People with childcare issues, people with vulnerable people in their houses, they're going to want to stay at home. And if they can show that in fact their productivity hasn't changed and it's been maintained I think employers will have some difficulty not granting more flexible working hours in the future.

DEXTER FLYNN, SOLICITOR AT VOISIN LAW

PwC have been using remote and flexible working for some time. Going into an enforced lockdown accelerated the development of their working model.

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Where normally we would have continued on our route of flexibility supported by technology for remote working, what this has done is it's really compressed that time. And we've sort of come out of it saying we really need to understand personal preference, not everyone's home is equipped for working, but we actually have to understand that this is possible. So taking all of that together and saying, well what does that mean for the future, is something we'll be working on quite intensely now.

GERLIND SMITH, HUMAN CAPITAL DIRECTOR AT PWC

If more people were to migrate their desks home more permanently, questions could arise around what would happen to our traditional office space.

Emily Musker of Waddington Interiors says this is an exciting time to think about the future of office design, but that we cannot ignore the social importance of offices and the fact that not everyone is set up for home working.

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I think that businesses will definitely look at their premises. And perhaps they will realise that with people being able to work from home, or people's preference being to work from home, that they might not need to allow for 100% population within their office so everyone may not need a place to work. They might be able to become more of a hub type facility, more of a hot-desking, people drop in, drop out, or maybe a team rotation type system, but I think there is still so much social interaction to gain from having an office. And there's the well-being factor which we cannot ignore either. It is healthy for people to be able to get out and about.

EMILY MUSKER, HEAD OF INTERIORS AT WADDINGTON INTERIORS

When it comes to well-being, many argue that working not just from home but remotely full stop, is what is best for them. Sarah Carré is a change consultant who has worked remotely for years. She is thrilled others are finally catching on.

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Now employers have the chance to I would say it's going back to treating their workers fairly and giving them more flexibility and opportunity so the people that work for them can choose and have a work life balance where working from home can be really advantageous. And now we've done the experiment and we know it works, I think it would be crazy to go backwards.

SARAH CARRÉ, DIRECTOR OF VALUEMETRIX
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