While the vast majority of office workers are happy to work from home (WFH) during the Covid-19 pandemic upheaval, just half would be happy to swap the office boardroom for their domestic back room full time, once the virus is contained.
A survey of 500 Irish employees of professional and financial firms done by BNP Paribas Real Estate this week shows 90% of respondent happy to be out of their offices right now, but that figure falls to 49% as a long-term option.
Three quarters (74%) of those surveyed felt the Coronavirus would see “a significant shift to WFH in the labour market,” and even more, 88% said they were likely to ask their employer to work from home, at least part-time, said MD Kenneth Rouse.
Positives of WFH highlighted by employees included feelings of safety, no commute, consequent savings and an improved work life balance.
In family homes, balancing work with caring for children was a factor: 60% of respondent lived with children, and 35% of respondents had distractions from children. Other negatives were a lack of social interaction (67%) and missing colleagues work supports (52%).
The BNP survey showed 71% of Irish office workers said they were concerned about the health implications of shared working environments, but a majority (59%) believed their former office accommodation was a healthy place to work.
While serviced open-plan offices, and older suburban office may suffer, prime city centre (CBD) offices "will continue to perform well. Corporates will always want a desirable location for their HQ building, and there tends to be more client-facing roles in CBD locations," said BNP's Mr Rouse.
Adaptations will span more modular offices and partitions,and tech-based safety measures like voice-activated doors and elevators, anti-microbial fabrics and wall coverings and germicidal lights. Healthcare design standards for cleaning and ventilation systems will be common, says the agency.