Offices not dead but WFH will remain post COVID

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WHILE employees have been growing increasingly tired of working from home (WFH), new predictive analytics suggest 37% of Australia’s workforce will continue to use their home studies and desks for 3+ days per week, beyond the pandemic.

According to Australian headquartered global workplace designers Unispace, some 10 to 30% of office space will remain unoccupied in addition to the 40 to 50% that was already typically unoccupied.

This will be drawn from 10 to 30% workforce reduction, a 10 to 30% economic impact of working from home, and a 10 to 20% increase in social problem solving and collaboration space.

This means that at any given time in future, a workpoint could remain unoccupied as much as 60 to 80% of the time.

Pulse surveys have shown a decline in the desire to work from home, the longer lockdowns continue. Having sat at 19% pre-pandemic, that number shot up to 83% in April during the first national round of restrictions.

However, that figure has been slashed in half, falling to just 42% by July. Predictive analytics suggest 37% of the work force will continue to work from home at least three days a week following the implementation of a vaccine.

A slightly higher percentage – 40% – is forecast to work from home up to three days a week in 2021. Unispace’s data suggests 20 to 60% percent of the workforce will work remotely as a result of COVID-19 protocols.

Meanwhile, results also released yesterday of a new Fiverr survey of 1,000 Australians showed workers spent an average of $450 on setting up their home office, equating to about $2 billion.

More than 90% wanted to continue working from home in some form after the pandemic, however, more than half of respondents said working from home has been detrimental to their work-life balance.

Unispace’s analytics model expected occupancy levels across different industries, and leverages 3.2 million data points from the Bureau of Labour Statistics to help businesses decipher how their workforce will return to the office and on what basis.

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