DURBAN – According to a survey from global HR and recruitment firm Adecco, the typical day at the office might look anything but typical once businesses reopen as more companies could be more open to previously-rare combos of remote and in-person work.
Researchers found that workers are ready to get back into the office, but reluctant to abandon their flexibility. Three-quarters of those surveyed favoured a hybrid model that split work across the office and the home. Managers like these options, too and said they believed their business will benefit from increased, routine flexible working. A similar number, though, also stressed the importance of face-to-face meetings.
Tech giant Microsoft trialled a four-day working week last year in Japan which was deemed successful in terms of employee feedback and productivity. It says it now has a “hybrid workplace strategy as worksites slowly start to open”.
“Working from home remains optional through October for most employees,” said a Microsoft spokesperson.
Both working from home and shorter working weeks have been applauded by human resources experts as an alternative to a mass return to offices. A growing list of business leaders are adding their weight to working from home and more flexible working arrangements, aided by technology and video-conferencing platforms such as Zoom and Google Meet.
“As we start to return to workplaces and find a new normal, alternative working patterns will also help reduce commuter traffic and with social distancing measures. Covid has made employers move away from traditional thinking that productivity is contingent upon set hours within an office environment,” said HR consultant Emily Draycott-Jones.
Meanwhile, Technology firm Fujitsu has said it will halve its office space in Japan as it adapts to the “new normal” of the coronavirus pandemic. It says the “Work-Life Shift” programme will offer unprecedented flexibility to its 80,000 workers in the country.
Staff will be able to work flexible hours, and working from home will be standard wherever possible. The announcement follows a similar move in May by social media platform Twitter.
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