Author Faculty (Discipline)

Business

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

6-2-2021

Journal

Frontiers of Contemporary Education

Volume Number

2

Issue Number

1

Page Numbers

56-74

ISSN

2690-3520

Embargo Period

11-30-2021

ANZSRC / FoR Code

38 ECONOMICS| 3899 Other economics

Avondale Research Centre

Christian Education Research Centre

Reportable Items (HERDC/ERA)

C1

Peer Review

Before publication

Abstract

With the pandemic of COVID-19 came a time of significant business disruption, particularly in relation to social distancing rules that effectively shut down organisations physical office spaces, and moved employees to work from home (WFH) in a very short space of time. This research looks at the current office space that employees use in a Higher Education Provider, and compares it to the WFH space, while discussing the challenges and opportunities of WFH. The question of the ability to collaborate with colleagues was also researched prior to and during the lock down. The results showed that employees valued their physical office space, but that open plan or shared offices were often noisy and lacked privacy. Most described their office space as personal, comfortable and conducive to productivity. The move to WFH was both swift and unplanned, but most employees felt that they had a good space, were comfortable, had the equipment they needed to do their job and used technology such as Zoom to keep in contact with colleagues and students.

The challenges of WFH included the lack of collegiality, communication issues, equipment/connectivity, community, mental health, work-life-balance and increased workload. Interestingly, of the seven challenges identified, six were also listed as opportunities, these included: collegiality, communication issues, equipment/connectivity, community, mental health and work-life-balance. Three additional opportunities were identified as flexibility, productivity and innovation.

In relation to the ability to work collaboratively with others, the majority of respondents stated this happened in their current office space (87%), and with the move to WFH, 76% stated that they were still able to work collaboratively. The results demonstrate that although there can be challenges in WFH, that there can be advantages to both employees and employers. Employees will no longer need to commute to work, can spend more time perusing personal plans and feel more productive when WFH. For employers, they now have access to a wider pool of talent, can enjoy cost savings and decrease their carbon footprint. The office of the future will be a hybrid model, a combination of people WFH, working in the office and doing both, otherwise known as the Hybrid Office Model (HOM).

Link to publisher version (DOI)

https://doi.org/10.22158/fce.v2n1p56

Comments

Used by permission: the author(s).

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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