Building a flexible future together

The questions we’ve all been asking ourselves about work are not especially new but have been given extra impetus in the wake of the pandemic. 

There’s one word that underpins all the big questions: flexibility. An enforced period of working from home has opened employer and employee eyes to the benefits and drawbacks of new ways of working for large segments of society. 

This article shares an informed view on working from the office and home including some of the key pros and cons. There is a strong focus on what employers can do to create workspaces that are adapted to meet the new expectations of employees.

“How, where, when and even why we work are questions that have been thrown into sharp relief over the course of the past two years as a result of COVID.”

Magali Delafosse
Group Vice President, Human Resources, Crown Worldwide Group

Working from home (WFH) is not remote working

In this article WFH refers to what has become the common practice over the course of the past two years of transferring what was office-based work into the individual’s home environment.

Remote work, however, could be defined as two very separate working practices. First, the more traditional remote worker is an employee who is based out of an office but does most of their work away from that office. The second type is a more recent manifestation and refers to an individual who has moved out of the country, either returning home or to somewhere else not notionally considered ‘home’ for tax purposes.

The pros

For many people, the shift to WFH coincides with starting a family. Having a family does not fit neatly into the traditional 9-to-5 or 9-to-later time frames of the working world. 

Arguably the next greatest driver for people who don’t want to work at an office every day is cutting out the daily commute. The time and money saved avoiding the commute mount up fast, meaning greater productivity for some. 

The cons

Health and well-being are often cited as potential WFH benefits. But it’s not always the case. Isolation is unarguably the greatest drawback to WFH. Isolation affects people in different ways; loneliness is associated with higher anxiety, depression, and suicide rates.

Another unforeseen drawback of WFH is when the boundaries between work and home become blurred. The mass office exodus during the pandemic has resulted in the working week being as much as 25% longer.

A Word of Warning

It is not a given that providing your workforce with an office space will result in greater productivity, excellent customer service, improved efficiency, enhanced engagement, or any other KPI used to measure success. 

As with all change management, clear, consistent and continuous communication from leadership is a must. 

Many leaders are now taking a hybrid approach and see offices becoming purely collaboration spaces, with employees attending the physical office two to three days a week with the sole purpose of collaborating with colleagues. In this way, the company culture thrives while employees also benefit from the choice of where and how they work. 

Define Your Future

When it comes to the future of the office, there are no certainties. 

The return to the shared workplace on a full-time basis or more likely as part of a hybrid model should be a carefully planned strategic operation. Doubtless many people reading this article will already have embarked on the journey, but the route they’re taking could change over time.

People and perspectives have changed, and the workplace must change too. Whatever you decide, you’ll need to communicate the policies and guidelines to staff.  

Firstly, consider the human aspect. Some people will be in favour of the return and others not. Some will feel safe and others not. Understand what other organisations in your area or sector are doing in order to retain and attract staff so that you don’t lose the best talent to your competitors.

Flexibility is key to a successful future and it looks like hybrid models of working are set to be the norm. Change management is about people not policies. If you want to affect what you think will be a big cultural shift, you need to lay down the groundwork early.

Fortunately, you’re not alone. We can help. Take us with you on this journey.

Crown Workspace Vietnam is your one-stop-shop for workplace change and an ideal partner for advising on and managing change right across the globe. 

Get in touch to discuss your workspace challenges and requirements. 


Da Nang: +84-236-367-6986

Hanoi: +84-243-936-6741

Ho Chi Minh City: +84-283-840-4237


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Tim Burrill
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