Back to the office or not?

The future of the workplace

17 February 2021 | Sakenuus
Petrus Haimbodi - The future of the workplace remains uncertain, with business leaders still facing unique hurdles, including whether to return the workforce back to the office or continue with remote working arrangements.

To help set the course, recent PwC reports focused on key takeaways for companies to assist with refining recovery strategies and transition plans.

Human resources (HR) professionals need to continue navigating remote work situations, prepare for a return to work in the near future and plan for the days when everyone is back in the office or on-site.

The trend found from surveys is that employees will only work from home one to three days a week and work the remainder in the office.

Stanford economist and researcher, Nicholas Bloom, argues people need to be in the workplace at least some of the time.

The Stanford study showed only half of employees working from home are at least 80% efficient compared to on-site work.

Many leaders found employees were originally more productive at home. But as time has worn on, employees were significantly less productive on Mondays and Fridays.

Tip: Managers should meet weekly with employees and assist with setting goals and strategies how to stay on course for the week.


The study should that more than one-third of employees don’t have the internet capacity to handle video calls. The majority doesn’t have the level of technology or network speed they have on-site.

Tips: Employers should do what they can to help employees get the internet capability they need or consider a lower-tech solution. Meetings should be scheduled very early or late in the day when internet usage is lower.

The majority of employees struggle with appropriate workspace in their homes, making the environment less conducive to be productive and comfortable.

Tips: Send employees regular tips on ergonomics and best practices for working from home. Consider a survey of employees to determine if you can assist with home-office setup.


Many employees aren’t just isolated from the office. We need to be aware that employees may not see or interact with family and/or friends, specifically those who live alone. Remote working arrangements may seriously impact morale and productivity as loneliness sets in.

Tip: Some interesting ideas include Zoom happy hours. This can’t completely replace real-time, in-person interaction, but attempt to create opportunities for employees who face similar circumstances to connect, share stories and best practices to create a remote working community in the organisation.

The longer employees stay out of the workplace, the longer they feel trapped in unpredictable circumstances.

They don’t know how long and to what degree remote working arrangements, whether in full or partly, will infringe on their personal lives and lifestyles. Change is good, but constant change with no expectation of stabilisation tends to cause uncertainty and with that come anxiety.

Tip: Plan to normalise your operations as much as possible. While some employees need flexibility, many are more comfortable with a defined schedule. Also, keep employees updated on your return-to-work plans so they can prepare for the new – or return to – predictability.


HR leaders shouldn’t be surprised that employees who feel isolated, stressed and suspicious will become burned out.

Gallup researchers recently found employees who work from home are more burned out than those who work on-site. Prior to the pandemic, the opposite held true: Remote employees faced less stress.

Researchers say there’s a difference between choosing to work from home and being forced to work from home. When people had flexibility and autonomy to go to the office, they didn’t feel “trapped” at home.

In conclusion, organisations will need to carefully consider the future way of work into their long-term strategies. Re-evaluate whether remote work arrangements will benefit the organisation, the workforce and the corporate culture in the long run.

Petrus Haimbodi is an associate with PwC P&O Consulting Services.



Hardap-sluise nóg groter getrek

2 dae gelede | Omgewing

Elvira Hattingh - Die Hardapdam se sluise is om 10:30 nóg groter oopgetrek sodat dit nou 300 m³ water per sekonde uitlaat – ‘n aanpassing...

La Niña skop dalk nóú in

2 dae gelede | Weer

Elvira Hattingh – Terwyl die weerkantoor ‘n weerwaak vir vandag vir wydverspreide donderbuie oor die westelike helfte van die binneland uitgereik het, meen ‘n weerkenner...

Selfdegeslaghuwelike ly neerlaag … vir nou

2 dae gelede | Howe

Jana-Mari Smith – Drie hoërhofregters het hulle gister sterk ten gunste van die wetlike erkenning van selfdegeslaghuwelike in Namibië uitgespreek, maar het nietemin die aansoeke...

Elisenheimrivier sleep motors weg

2 dae gelede | Weer

Augetto Graig – Die Elisenheimrivier het Woensdagaand motorvoertuie saamgesleep toe dit verby die Farmers Kitchen restaurant by Gastefarm Elisenheim oorstroom het. Me. Rentia van der...

Hardap loop gou vol

2 dae gelede | Weer

Elvira Hattingh – Die Hardapdam sou na verwagting laat gisteraand 70% van sy kapasiteit bereik, wat beteken dié suidedam se sluise sou oopgetrek moes word....

kykNET se ‘Wat Dit Vat’: Hier’s die kunstenaars

2 dae gelede | Byvoegsels

Dit was pret, dit was plesier en dit was ’n malligheid op note. Toe die briljante musikant en musiekvervaardiger Loki Rothman gesê het hy gaan...

Fees van klassieke musiek ten bate van kanker

2 dae gelede | Byvoegsels

Een van die mees begaafde pianiste in Namibië, Johann van der Merwe, bied môre (22 Januarie) 'n uitvoering aan om geld in te samel om...

Working with high standards of technology

2 dae gelede | Mense

Wetumwene Shikage Not expecting to find a smooth and easy way of work, Romario Arnat describes his working experience as an eye-opener as to how...

Taking steady growing curves

2 dae gelede | Mense

Wetumwene Shikage Timothy Olivier’s passion and dedication has been a key driver in his success not only within Old Mutual, but throughout his...