Will the five-day office week ever fully return? In the face of such uncertainty, it is difficult to say, but we can be sure that the pandemic has certainly changed the working environments of many office-based workers. In fact, regular office life has changed so much so that 45% of 30-49 year olds are among those working from home, albeit the kitchen table for some. Others may have fully embraced working from life with a permanent home office set up.
In this month’s blog, we explore the differences between home working vs an office based working culture and the changing behaviours. This is set in a Question and Answer style session with a local call centre operative, who would usually have spent 40 hours per week in the traditional office environment.
How has the pandemic affected your working pattern?
I have been working from home since March 2020 and luckily adapted quite well, as I know that for some it was a real struggle to adjust. Admittedly, it started as quite a novelty, working from my sofa. I soon realised that firstly, this was not good for my posture and secondly, I found it hard to stay focussed and needed some consistency. Within 2 weeks, I had set up my own working environment with token office plant and desk cleaning supplies. What a difference that made!
What do you enjoy most about your home working environment?
Without a doubt, I appreciate my time so much more. Ditching my commute, I have the time to exercise before work, which I find really motivates me and sets me up for the day. I even manage to squeeze in a kitchen clean up or quick vacuum on most days, which saves me my valuable weekend time.
We are very fortunate to live in the times of video calls so I can keep in touch with colleagues easily throughout the day with the obligatory wave at the screen as we end the call.
Do you have a regular cleaning regime in your home office?
Ok, so I have to say my working from set up is quite stylish; I simply adore my white gloss desk but I certainly do not love the dust that it gathers! I always use an anti-static surface cleaner spray to prevent dust build up. For me, it has to be AF Foamclene because the foaming action deep cleans my desk whilst preventing an annoying build-up of dust.
I was lucky enough to be supplied a desk cleaning kit by my employer to keep my laptop and equipment clean and maintained. I totally get it; even before the pandemic, during our working week, we were encouraged to do a weekly cleaning regime of our desk space, including desk phone, keyboard, and monitor and of course the desk surface. I have found that I have become somewhat of a screen-cleaning addict. Mainly because my office is a suntrap and staring at dust and fingerprints on my screen is immensely irritating. My essential cleaning kit includes a Multi-Screen Clene that I can use to clean my laptop and my phone, safely freeing it of fingerprints and grime.
What do you miss most about the office?
It has to be the social interaction. Whilst we do have weekly team video calls and even a monthly quiz, office life is not quite the same at home. Not to mention the tea and coffee run rota, I now know how many caffeine fixes I get through by making my own each time.
Initially it was hard to break the work and personal life balance, but as I became more organised and established a routine, I found that I broke free of the ‘work in the pj’s’ trap and treated my home workstation just like my office one.
Do you think the pandemic has changed the awareness hygiene in the office?
Yes most definitely. I have already noticed the change as I have been going into the office during a phased return. There are hand sanitiser stations at every entrance, and each desk has a pump bottle and antibacterial screen and surface wipes available to keep equipment clean and high touch zones like door handles and lift buttons. I’m fortunate to have employers that are committed to maintaining a health workforce.
Here at AF we would love to know what our readers really think; that no holds barred, totally honest opinion that employees tend to hold back. Well don’t hold back! This is a golden opportunity to have your say. Are you waiting in anticipation for that that call to head back to the office permanently? On the other hand, would you rather work from the comfort of your own home for the foreseeable? As 26% of brits plan to continue to work from home on a permanent or flexible basis, one essential fact is to maintain a clean and tidy workspace, wherever that workspace may be. One final point to bear in mind is the employer’s desire to reduce the real estate or rental bill via the reduction of office space and increase of hot-desking. Shared spaces equal shared germs. Do not give them house room! Sanitise today with AF International.