Circle Opinion

How Will Our Work and Home Life Co-exist as Measures Are Lifted?

Stewart Eldridge

For many of us, COVID-19 has been the most significant, and perhaps the most traumatic, experience of our lives. It has had a huge impact on us as individuals, as a society and as a workforce. While some things will return to some semblance of pre-pandemic normality, many things have changed forever and have become our ‘new normal’.

Overnight, lockdown measures forced many of us to work from home which has led to the normalisation of remote working. This more flexible way of working has allowed more time with the kids, the opportunity to walk the dog in the park at lunchtime as well as being at home when online purchases are delivered.

Living and working locally means we are spending more time at home, spending more money on our local high streets, and supporting local businesses. In CACI’s Wealth of the Nation Report analysis that focuses on the changing movement of the population across a pandemic and the impacts of wealth touch on this point.

But How Will Our Working Behaviours Change as Measures are Lifted?

As part of our assessment of the Future of our Office Space, CACI has published a ranking of the HOT 100 Work From Home (WFH) locations. This analysis has identified the top locations with the highest volume of workers likely to change their working habits and work from home more frequently as a result of Covid.

This analysis prompts us to question whether the pandemic has affected the way our work and home life co-exist?

At the height of the pandemic last year there was a lot of discussion about whether we would return to the office and, if so when and how often? What would be the impact of working remotely and how would this affect how we communicate, connect, and create? And what will our workplaces look like if our offices are virtual and we lose those social interactions?

As Lockdown Measures Are Lifted and We Are Being Asked to Return to the Workplace, What Will Be the Outcome?

CACI’s weekly COVID analysis has shown that while there is a clear desire to get back to the office, businesses must adapt to the changing worker needs. Furthermore, we have established that 2.8 is the optimum number of days a week workers would ideally like to spend in the office in the future.

So, what will people do for the remainder of the traditional 5-day working week?

While certain businesses depend on face to face and in person experiences to exist, many more can operate in a virtual environment. They have become accustomed to using video conferencing platforms which have seen a huge surge in use that is unlikely to change in a post-COVID world.

People now want to be able to split time working between home and the office meaning office-based time will focus more around collaborating and networking with colleagues.

As remote work is adopted as the ‘new normal’, many are choosing to leave big cities in favour of more local and suburban areas which have seen an increase in flexible working environments reflect our changing behaviours and needs.

Since April 2020, CACI has been producing free weekly reports that have focused on the changing movement of your customers and our communities. Amongst many of the findings to come out of this analysis we have established that money has historically been used to buy freedom of movement, and throughout the pandemic – for those who have money – it has bought people freedom to stay still.

It is very clear from the data that affluent community groups have had the choice to stay at home and make use of local amenities, while those less affluent and more disadvantaged groups have needed to travel further for personal or work purposes. For some additional insight, our Wealth of the Nation Report takes a closer look at how income and movement have been impacted by COVID.

Download Your Copy of the 2021 Edition of The Wealth of the Nation Here.

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Stewart Eldridge