White-collar workers may find it easier to work from home, says expert

An IPSOS ‘empty offices’ webinar has heard that while white-collar workers may find it easier to adjust to working from home, those doing more manual work face challenges.

FILE: The IPSOS online survey asked respondents how the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown had affected their work life. Picture: Pexels.

JOHANNESBURG - A new survey has found that working from home could have unintended negative consequences for businesses considering this as a permanent arrangement.

The IPSOS online survey asked respondents how the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown had affected their work life.

An IPSOS ‘empty offices’ webinar on Tuesday heard that while white-collar workers may find it easier to adjust to working from home, those doing more manual work face challenges.

READ MORE: Working from home affecting productivity & staff morale, survey finds

Herman Warren from the Economist Corporate Network said accommodating the different roles in an organisation could result in unintended divisions, which affected workplace cohesion and culture.

“White-collar workers generally have more flexibility to work remotely than blue collars. You create that kind of divide in a company if it's not managed well,” he said.

Warren said remote work could also impact how employees were compensated in future.

He made reference to a leaked memo to Google staff.

“Google was thinking about changing the way they compensate employees based on whether or not they come to the office, and where they live,” he added.

Meanwhile, managers said they found it difficult to keep tabs on their teams who were working remotely.

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