Firstly, those whose jobs are safe and secure despite the economic stresses of the past few months are going to question the need to actually be in an office to do their job. If it’s possible to do the work from a home office, having meetings via Teams or Zoom, why spend an hour in rush hour traffic just to do the same job in a city centre office?
Secondly those businesses whose staff have worked effectively from home are going to start wondering why they are paying many thousands of pounds in rent for expensive office space? Barclays, for example, are undertaking a “long term adjustment” to their office space plans. Facebook owner Mark Zuckerberg has predicted that half of Facebook’s 45,000 staff will be homeworkers by the end of the decade. Twitter plans to allow any employees that want to continue homeworking to do so indefinitely.
UK workers have long had the right, legally, to request flexible working and to address their work/life balance by doing some or all of their work from home. It will be a lot harder, post-Covid, for employers whose staff have been homeworking during the crisis to refuse such requests. A lot of the evidence so far points to a huge increase in homeworking even when the Covid-19 lockdown is a distant memory.