Many out there are now sitting in home offices and most of them have been doing so for quite some time. Several companies in Oslo report that their employees have not been in the office since February and it is not planned that anyone will return until Covid-19 is “over”. We conducted a small survey through Pollstat to take a look at the attractiveness of the home office.
There were a total of 1008 respondents from 15 different industries and with a gender distribution of 47% women and 53% men. What is gratifying in the situation we are in now is that 74% of the respondents state that they have the opportunity to carry out their tasks at the home office as long as the workplace can facilitate it. This indicates a great deal of flexibility which ensures that it is possible to keep many people at work even if they cannot physically show up at the office.
There are many who have a long commute to work, some travel by public transport and some commute by car, but the thing they have in common, is that it costs extra time. Therefore, it is not surprising that 60% of the respondents in this survey believe that home office has a positive impact on the balance between work and leisure. At the same time, 89% answered that they are as effective or more efficient in the home office. These are positive numbers to take with you if home office is a practice that has come to stay, also after Covid-19.
But what happens to our relations?
Among those who responded to our survey, no one reported that home office affects the contact with their manager, whereas 59% report that the contact with colleagues is negatively affected. One no longer meets across departments at the coffee machine or for lunch, and there are many indications that there are greater barriers to calling someone than just stopping by their office. In other words, the manager has good control, but the employees experience a greater degree of isolation and silo work. Almost half of the respondents also report that home office has a negative effect on contact with other relationships outside of work.
What about innovation and development?
Of those who responded to the survey, 29% believe that home offices have a negative impact on innovation and development. Although this is well below half, this is an important factor to keep an eye on in your organization. When we asked about their experience of overview and knowledge of what happens in their own company, 1 in 4 answered that it is weakened with a home office. It may be a reminder to some that it is important to have common arenas for both low-threshold communication and information about what is happening in the company.
“Innovation requires the ability to collaborate and share ideas with other people, and to sit down with customers and get their feedback and understand their needs.” – Bill Gates
What about collaboration and commitment?
One of the most interesting findings in this survey is that if the home office is here to stay, most people will miss most the opportunity to meet the entire company, across departments, and feel proud along with colleagues. These are important factors that help to influence loyalty and commitment to one’s own workplace. Cooperation with others is in fact an essential part of working life for most people, but it is also a competitive advantage and therefore it is important to create good conditions for collaboration.
The survey gave us some clear hints on what people out there think it takes for a home office to be a success. The respondents state that it is important to create safe meeting places where the employees can build team spirit, exchange knowledge and spend time together. Half of the respondents believe that team building, activities or kick off in a safe place will strengthen their relationship with the employer. 46% also state that socializing with colleagues after work is perceived as important for their well-being.
“Culture is not an aspect of the game, it is the game” – Lou Gernstner
Oslofjord is well equipped to gather people, even in these times. Because we have a lot of available space, we are highly flexible and can adapt the events to fulfill requirements for infection control. We are also the first in Norway with CovidClean certification at the highest level. This is a confirmation that we have good documentation of all our infection control professional measures and that we comply with these – an extra security for all guests, organizers and employees. You can read more about the certification here.
Although your organization may continue to practice home office, do not forget that employees want to meet. When you meet less in everyday life, it is important to facilitate good meeting places. It can be anything from regular departmental meetings with physical attendance, to large gatherings with entertainment and accommodation for the entire company. Building a common corporate culture is simply not done as well over Teams or Zoom, you have to meet, solve tasks and challenges together and have some fun at the same time.
Do not hesitate to contact us to hear how we can together create good and safe meeting places for your guests and employees!