All around us we’re seeing Edinburgh springing to life again, groups enjoying the sunshine in pavement cafes and parks, shops opening their doors and restaurant tables filling once more.

While many Edinburgh residents are embracing the freedom that the move to level zero has brought, across the city, thousands of office workers are still based at kitchen tables or corners of their home and offices in the city are remaining mostly empty.

What’s the official guidance?

The current guidance from the Scottish Government states: a gradual return to offices can begin when the country moves beyond level 0, however, home working will continue to be an important mitigation for controlling the virus and we would ask that businesses still support employees to do this, where possible and in consultation with employees.

As of 9th August, most remaining coronavirus restrictions across Scotland have been removed but the Scottish Government continues to advise citizens to work from home, where possible. So are we at the dawn of a new era for workers and will we ever return to office 9 to 5 again? Do we even want to?

The pros and cons of home working

Back in March, a study from Strathclyde University revealed that out of more than 3000 workers, fewer than one in ten wanted to return to the office full time when COVID-19 restrictions eased.

On the flip side, a later study from The University of Stirling reported that thousands of Scots have suffered feelings of anxiety and isolation after a year of working from home, with many reporting fatigue, disturbed sleep and lack of focus.

And according to the Office for National Statistics through a study covering April/May 2021 examined the effects of the Pandemic on office working.  The study found that the greatest positive was home and work-life balance and the greatest negative being the lack of ability for collaboration between colleagues and preference of a hybrid working approach.

So, it’s clear that the issue of home working vs office working is far from black and white, and what might work for one company or employee may cause major issues for another.

At Create Business Properties, we have been supporting all of our tenant businesses throughout the Coronavirus crisis and we will continue to do so as we start to return to normality. In light of this, we’ve had a look at the pros and cons of home working to illustrate the continued need for a collaborative approach and a hybrid model.


Advantages of working from home

Better home/work life balance

For many employees, the option to be a bit more flexible with working hours has made a positive impact on their work/life balance. This is particularly true for families and for those who have had to homeschool children during lockdown or periods of self-isolation. Many employees are simply enjoying the freedom of working from home and find it has positively impacted their lives. However, for some, homeworking has the opposite effect (see below under disadvantages).

No commuting

This has to be listed as one of the main advantages of working from home. Not only are thousands of people saving hours every week travelling to and from the workplace, but it has led to fewer traffic emissions and congestion – all of which have to be good things.

No office distraction

Despite the home-based distractions such as housework, the garden and TV, much of the research carried out during lockdown has shown that the majority of workers claim to be more productive working from home. And many employers have noticed the boost in productivity too and are looking at hybrid and flexible working options for the future.

Ability to set your own schedule

If you’ve been working from home for the past year or more, it’s likely you will have fallen into a daily routine that suits you – whether it’s nipping to the kitchen for a cuppa instead of Starbucks, a lunchtime walk with the dog or enjoying a sandwich in the garden, rather than at your desk, working at home allows you more freedom to choose your own schedule.


Disadvantages of working from home


While for many, the freedom brought by working from home has had a positive effect on their work-life balance, for others it has led to burnout, caused by difficulty in ‘switching off’. Zoom fatigue is another real problem for many home workers, who see their days being eaten up by back-to-back Zoom meetings, leaving them stressed with less time to actually get their work done.


It’s a simple fact. A lot of people find it hard to motivate themselves to work outside the office environment. A lack of contact with co-workers can lead to reduced motivation. And perhaps on warmer days, the lure of the sunshine can be too strong for some…

Human interaction/isolation

This is one of the biggest problems for a lot of people who have been working from home for many months. Particularly for those who live alone. The morning commute, lunchtime visit to the shop or simply a quick chat with co-workers over coffee may seem trivial, but take these simple interactions away and many people find themselves feeling lonely.

Lack of collaboration & sharing of ideas

Zoom, Teams and Slack. Words most home workers will be all too familiar with by now. Thank goodness for digital advances, otherwise, we would have missed out on a lot during the last year or so. But digital meetings are not anywhere near as productive as face-to-face chats. And being unable to simply walk to a colleague’s desk with a question, thought or idea has meant a lot of great collaborative thinking has been stifled.


So, what does the future of working look like?

As we’ve seen, there are advantages AND disadvantages of working from home and many employers are well aware of these and are looking to implement a more flexible, hybrid approach to office working that plays to the needs and strengths of the individual.

The unprecedented Pandemic that the world has and is still going through has changed peoples lives forever and the way that businesses operate will undoubtedly change to reflect that.  At Create we have seen that businesses have had to change the way they work to be more flexible to the health and wellbeing of their staff.

However, we have seen that most businesses within Create Business Properties are still looking to remain with outside offices/manufacturing areas as the need for a base of operation is vital to most of them. Our priority, as ever, is to support our tenant businesses through this continued difficult time for them.

While any return to the workplace will doubtless be staggered and phased, it remains vital that workers start to return to Edinburgh in order to fully stimulate our economy and get us back on the path to normality.