Most Hong Kongers would agree a home office will save them a lot of trouble, especially with being stuck in traffic while commuting to back and forth to the office.
Similarly in the UK, not having to deal with frustration of delayed trains, crowded buses and rude taxi drivers are the major reasons for people choosing to work at home.
The home office trend is picking up in the UK, as more British are working from home than ever at 4.2 million, 13.9% of the workforce, according to the Office for National Statistics.
Not just employees, companies too seem to be catching to the trend. In 2014, Microsoft in Germany decided to not make it compulsory for employees to report to office for work.
This allowed the firm to downsize its office space and move into a more central location in Munich. Now, on any given day only 20 to 30% of the company’s employees are usually found on the company’s premises.
Clearly, the concept of a home office allows companies to cut costs by managing a smaller office. This seems to make perfect sense for local firms who are plagued by sky-rocketing rents, especially in major business districts like Central.
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With less demand for a permanent premises, companies like Satellite Office are offering firms a working space only when they need them. For example, conference rooms for the short-term, so that a normally-dispersed workforce can come together for face-to-face meetings when needed.
Regus has also launched a new suite of tools for professionals working on the go, allowing users to access 18 million WiFi hotspots worldwide and find workspaces wherever they’re working.
While the home office seems to be a growing trend globally, workers in Germany are less keen on the option. A survey by the Federal Statistics Office showed that in 1996, 13% of employees were utilising the home office option provided by their companies. As of 2014, this number dropped to 11%.
Dr. Werner Eichhorst from the Research Institute for the Future of Work told The Local that the success of Microsoft is an isolated case and he did not expect companies to deploy home offices in order to reduce office space.
He raised two reasons for why the home office culture has failed to take hold. “Firstly employees feel that communication in a complex work environment between multiple colleagues cannot be well replicated when people are not working close together.
“Second, employees feel that if they work from home they get forgotten about and worry they are losing connection to their colleagues,” he said.
He did agree that working from home could reduce illnesses that result from overworking, such as stress which could have a positive impact on productivity, but argued that such a link is hard to prove.
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