As many as 90% of employees would like to continue teleworking after the current restrictions are lifted and everyone can go back to work, according to a poll carried out by consultancy BDO for human resources group HR Square.
The coronavirus crisis has changed society in many ways, but one of the consequences that people are looking forward to continuing is the arrival off mass teleworking.
The government lockdown introduced in March meant that for many businesses, having staff work from home was the only way to remain afloat. For some businesses, such as retail and manufacturing, teleworking is impossible.
However many found that working from home was not only possible, but positively desirable.
Before the crisis, almost six out of ten employees never teleworked. Of those who did, three out of four worked from home on average one day a week.
Now, 70% are working from home full time, and only 5% are still not doing it.
The major benefit appears to be time: the majority of those polled lose an hour a day on travel to and from work, adding up to several hours a week.
But the tide has not completely turned, and there is very little support for teleworking full time. For a large minority – 44% to be exact – two days a week would be ideal. Just under 40% would be happy with one day, or 20% of the time. Only 5% want to return to the office full time.
Interestingly, almost half of those polled were people in a management function. It has long been thought that management, especially in the middle range, was the major barrier to teleworking. Managers, it was thought, felt they lost control when employees were not physically present.
But practical experience now appears to have changed that mindset.
“Teleworking will certainly not vanish along with the corona crisis,” said Geert Volders, a partner in BDO. “It would be a missed opportunity not to continue to use the advantages of teleworking after COVID-19. Society and the environment are already aware of this. The disappearance of traffic jams and the resulting reduction in CO2 emissions bear witness to this.”