Updated: Nov 25, 2020
If you run a business, you’ve had enough headaches in 2020 to last a lifetime. One of these will be your real estate situation. Should we keep that lease? Can we even get out of it? Can we operate from home over the long term? What happens when things get moving again?
Whilst answers to many questions are still distant, it’s worth investigating how people will want to work in the future. With this in mind The Travel Industry Hub launched a survey of both employers and individuals in AU/NZ. Over 600 were completed, and this is Part One of the results.
When things begin to pick up again, many companies will look to restart from home. Here we look at the concerns that employees harbour about this lifestyle, and those of the employers faced with managing them.
First, the individual. We asked what the main concerns would be if your role were mostly or entirely based at home. Respondents could make multiple selections, and the most chosen were:
Lack of Interaction With Others (68%)
Work Crossing Into Home Life (46%)
Those answers shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone, in what is a ‘people industry’. We bounce off each other, feed off each other’s energy, thrive amongst ourselves. You already know this.
But whilst isolation is the key worry, just 15% of us are worried about our home office setup. Ignoring long-term ergonomics, workplace safety and future back pain - my osteopath friend has never been busier - let’s instead celebrate that 5 in 6 of us have some kind of environment where we can get things done. Figures are different for the under 40’s, proving the global research showing that younger people have struggled more with the transition to home working thanks to young families, shared accommodation and other factors.
And what are the concerns of employers?
Staff Morale and Bonding - 55%
Communication - 48%
Exchange of Ideas - 45%
Mental Wellbeing of Staff - 36%
Training - 28%
Impact on Clients - 25%
Managing Staff - 25%
With interaction as the key factor on both sides it's clear that a flexibility will be needed during the recovery, both from employer and employee. Your future or returning staff member wants to work from home (how often will be discussed next time), but doing so on a permanent basis spells trouble.
Barely any business respondents will be leasing a new location, and more than 50% are open to sharing space with others.
We’re cheerleaders of flexible workspaces, and we asked if people would make use of a space to work around others, if offered by their employer - a 'third space' which is not the office or the home. The result was a staggering 8/10 rating for attractiveness to your employee, mirroring global trends. Interaction with others need not be with your own team.
How can struggling travel companies benefit from this information? Well, the results show that rushing back to lease an office, with the commitments and headaches that brings, may be less urgent than you think. Team members understand the economic situation, are content to work from home and in most cases already have a working environment to get things done.
But not at the cost of human interaction. In a traditionally underpaid industry there are dangers in losing the camaraderie that travel people thrive on.
Gathering teams for one-off occasions is already becoming commonplace. Working days in a hired office or meeting room can gel your team without ongoing financial commitments, and if your staff are geographically dispersed you could consider offering use of a local workspace around others. 85% of people using coworking spaces are happier for it.
Next time we’ll tie these results with how often people want to work from an office versus elsewhere, what factors they'll look for in a future employer, and what this means for our industry. _____ Thanks sincerely to everyone that responded, and for over 100 lovely comments about what we're doing. It means a great deal. Richard