Homes across Australia have changed from living areas to home offices as 27% of Australians shifted to working from home during COVID-19. For almost a quarter of Australians it wasn’t possible to work from home (23%) and for 9% of Australians it was possible to work from home, but they chose not to.
The key benefits of working from home are time and cost savings
Although working from home has posed some challenges, the positive aspects have outweighed them. The key benefits have been the savings in both time and money. More than four in five Australians who have worked from home (82%) have found this arrangement saves them time with no commute and less time spent getting ready in the morning. Three in four (76%) have saved money on items such as travel and lunch costs.
Flexible working hours (74%) and time with family/household members (73%) have also improved with working from home, as has the environmental impact (69%).
Work/life balance (65%) and work productivity (51%) have also improved for more than half of those who worked from home.
The challenges of working from home
While there are many positive benefits of working from home, the isolation period took its toll on Australians and many missed the collegiality, opportunities for collaboration and points of connection the workplace often provides. The number one challenge when working from home was social isolation (44%) followed by the blurring of work and home boundaries (33%) and missed opportunities for collaboration (30%).
Positively, 16% of Australians have not experienced any challenges with their working from home arrangement.
Reservations about returning to the workplace
As Australians who have been working from home begin to think about returning to the office, they do have some reservations. The number one reservation they have is travelling on public transport (86%), followed by consuming communal food (84%) and being in a communal workplace (83%).
Australians who have been working from home also have reservations about attending an offsite conference this year (82%) and participating in multi hour meetings (82%). Four in five (80%) have reservations about using the cutlery and cups at work, while 77% have reservations about using lifts.