“The largest work-from-home experiment ever” is how the period of enforced remote working for the last half year is sometimes referred to.

And, as with any experiment, we now have some results.

Productivity across the board has varied: almost 30% of people said they got more work done at home, while another 30% said they got less done.

Unfortunately the last six months has also proved that not everyone is able to work from home all the time. We’ve seen people using ironing boards as makeshift desks and tiny bedrooms divided into even tinier office/bedroom setups.

With a global pandemic raging, mental health problems have been exacerbated as people have been cut off from their usual support systems, including connections with colleagues and the familiarity of their routine. During lockdown mental health across the UK deteriorated: almost two-thirds of adults with a pre-existing mental health problem said that it worsened under lockdown and 1 in 5 people without prior mental health problems said that their mental health during lockdown had been poor or very poor.

It’s no surprise, therefore, that when the government announced new measures to contain the spread of COVID-19 that the messaging on working from home was subtly different from March. The message now is to work from home “if you can”, acknowledging that there are many factors that may make that impossible for people.

What does this mean for companies?

For the companies we’re working with, this puts them in a difficult position: they don’t want to be encouraging people to work outside the home, but neither do they want to force their employees to work from home by failing to provide them with alternatives.

Normally Desana works on a rolling subscription basis - companies pay for a certain number of credits per month. These credits can then be used in the next two months for any member of staff to book workspace through our network.

While the government continues to advise people to work from home if they can (which may continue for the next six months), we’re pausing all our subscriptions and instead letting companies buy blocks of credits as and when they need them. There’s no expiry date on credits so they don’t feel pressured into using workspace but they are also able to offer staff an alternative to WFH if they feel for any mental health, logistical or practical reasons that they simply cannot work from home.

Obviously, as a long-term commercial model this isn’t viable for us. But we wanted to ensure that the companies we are working with - and more importantly, their employees - had options going into the next few months.

We know that the next few months will be difficult ones for everyone. We truly believe that workspace can make a huge difference to how people work and live and we hope that by making it easier for people to get access to it, we will at least have a positive impact in the next half a year.

If you think Desana might be a good option for your team, we’d love to show you it and let you try it for yourself. Just get in touch with us here.