WHAT’S THE ISSUE?
Studies have shown that more than 90 percent of people currently working from home during the pandemic are keen to continue to do so at least some of the time when it ends.
But if that’s to work there are issues which both employers and employees are going to have to solve, most notably a perceived gender divide that men are better at working from home than women.
The good news though, as Dr Heejung Chung, leader of The Working from Home during COVID-19 Lockdown Project at the University of Kent explains to Stephen is that her data shows some of those issues are nearing a solution.
MEET THE EXPERT
Dr Heejung Chung is a Reader in Sociology and Social Policy at the University of Kent, and leader of “The working from Home during COVID-19 Lockdown project.
Her key research is concerned with issues of cross-national comparative analysis of welfare states and their labour markets.
WHAT DOES CHUNG SAY?
“A lot of the hesitations managers had prior to the pandemic about whether or not workers can work efficiently at home have disappeared,” Dr Chung says “largely due to the fact that despite the pandemic, workers have been showing huge levels of productivity and efficiency.”
There are also pandemic positives to be taken by those who have questioned the role of women working from home: “Employers thought that women, when they work from home, don't really work, that they prioritize housework and child care.”, which she says has in the past meant more men than women have been given the chance to do so. That’s changed during lockdown as an increasing number of women have been able to work from home and prove any doubters wrong.
THE KEY QUOTE
“People who work from home work longer hours. They work harder as well.” Dr Heejung Chung
Dr Chung’s research that while it may be a little early to tell whether ingrained attitudes about working from home have been removed by the pandemic, there’s no doubt the move towards more flexible working practices on a more permanent basis is unstoppable.
And there’s another potential benefit here too – for the unemployed. “If companies decide that working from home is going to be the norm, it really increases the geographic opportunities for a job search for many unemployed people. And I think that would be a really good positive impact.”
ALSO ON THE AGENDA:
- Kate Lister, President of Global Workplace Analytics explains how working from home, pandemic or no pandemic, can save employees three of their most precious commodities – their time, their money and even their sanity. https://youtu.be/bYaR6_aUpOM
- Dr Yasuhiro Kotera, Academic Lead in Counselling, Psychotherapy and Psychology at the University of Derby joins Stephen to discuss how employees and employers will have to work together to ensure the transition out of pandemic working practices is good for everyone. https://youtu.be/6fkuGrea-IM
- And we consider the future for that halfway house between the office and our homes – the flexible co-working space as Stephen talks to Mathieu Proust, the General Manager for the UK, Ireland and emerging markets at WeWork. https://youtu.be/mqC-neiq920
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