With lockdown forcing many people to work from home, a lot of the country’s workforce have noted the advantages of turning rooms in the house into office spaces, seeing an increase in productivity and in savings.

Businessman Sir Martin Sorrell told the BBC this week that he would rather “invest the £35 million he spends on expensive offices in people instead”, and this could soon be the case for many companies, not just in the UK, but around the world.

With the use of apps such as Microsoft Teams, workforces are able to still work effectively from the comfort of their own home. Before lockdown, 1.54 million people were working permanently from home, an increase of 75% from 2010.

Bedrooms, dining and living rooms have been converted into makeshift office spaces as people work from home © Jay Wennington

More people are trying to find ways of working from home and how to be most effective when doing so. Google Trends have shown that the number of people searching for methods for working at home has increased, as people adapt to a different working environment.

Despite showing a lot of positive steps for workers, nearly 1 in 5 say that they experience loneliness when working from home. There is a clear agreement from employees that if working from home was to become the regular means of productivity, advancements in technology would need to be put in place to ensure that colleagues can keep in contact with each other and reduce feelings of loneliness.

One of the main benefits that workers have noticed is the savings they have made during lockdown. As nearly 60% of the UK’s workforce is now at home, the daily commute is no longer needed, meaning that money that would normally go towards petrol and the use of public transport stays in the the pockets of those in the home office.

On average, people have saved £44.34 a week, which adds up to nearly £200 a month. This not only means more money for spending, but also more for leisure time, which has also seen an increase.

Jane has worked as a credit controller, on and off, for 25 years. She started working from home in March, and it doesn’t look like she will be returning to work any time soon. Despite working in an office environment for a most of her working life, she’s debating whether to work one day a week at home once lockdown measures are lifted.

“I probably work more hours at home than I do in the office because you feel like you should. It is better to work from the office for a lot of things but I quite like the flexibility (of working from home) so I think I will ask to work from home one day a week.” 

Jane now works from home due to lockdown, but is considering carrying on at home once restrictions are lifted © Dan McGrath

Jane normally works in an office close to home, so taking time off the commute is not an issue. However, she does say that working from home would have had a huge impact on the commute time if she was working at former locations.

“If I had been at my previous employers, it would make a massive difference because you’re adding travel time onto the day. You’re looking at a minimum of an hour (for the commute) for most people because you’re stuck in traffic. Most offices are in the centre of a town or just outside where it’s quite busy anyway, the travelling time would be massive. I can use that time more efficiently.”

Although for many, the return to a normal working office environment may not be far away, the possibility of working from home may soon become routine. Employers and employees have seen the benefits of making the home a workspace, and lockdown could change the future of working from an office block.

Cover photo: Nathan Dumlao