‘’Will we still work from home after the pandemic?’’ This question is not faced by one industry, or one specific sector, but millions of people from all industries, who are left wondering. The new reality is clear, the amount of people working from home has increased faster than ever expected, but, is this a temporary situation? Will we continue this way forever?
Working remotely is quite intricate, as it provides many benefits both for the employee and the employer; however, it obviously also brings negative factors to the table. Thus, the million-dollar question is whether the benefits will outweigh the negative aspects, or all the way around.
The employer’s perspective
For an employer, two main factors play an important role, one concerns the productivity of each employee, as well as their well-being, but also economically, the amount of resources that are needed to achieve this.
From the economic standpoint, and not only referring to an employer, but to a company as a whole, remote working means a huge amount of money saved in expenses, as they will not need to pay for extreme office space, abroad business trips and big ‘all paid’ conferences, as everything can be done over a simple online meeting.
On the other hand, as previously mentioned, employers also care about the productivity and overall happiness of their employees.
A study in China selected a sample of call-center employees to work from home, results showed that they were 13 percent more productive than those in the control group. Small evidence of this sort is starting to arise, with much more following up…
Unfortunately, it is not all positive for employers and managers, as many leaders are great at what they do thanks to their charisma that gets projected through physical conversations, this might be a factor which lacks in a zoom meeting, as it is more difficult to capture people’s reactions and body expressions in the same way, therefore proposing a challenge for leaders.
Furthermore, online meetings are not as motivating, or may lack the energy that one can get from face to face interactions for certain individuals. This problem can be even more inconvenient if the set up is hybrid, where some people are physically together while others are working from home in the same meeting.
The employee’s perspective
The benefits from an employee’s standpoint are quite clear: commuting. There is a big difference for those who work far from their office. Or even, taking it a step further, if online work became a staple in our lives, it would open infinite chances for those who wish to live in one country and work at another, since physical location would not be a restraint anymore.
On top of that, common cases, such as parents who have newborns, or young children, could finally spend more time around them without experiencing any work disadvantages at all.
The same benefit that mentioned the positives of working around children can be its own downfall, as working from home can be very much a problem if you have children at home who seek your attention repeatedly during the day.
Another major problem that we may have gotten used to revolves around mixing life and work together, increasing the number of hours we work during the day, longer hours, which are, at the same time, less productive; not to mention potential bosses who may assume employees are always on and available.
As opposed to the problems that come from working with children around, there may also be problems for those who do not have a family, as working from home constantly may lead to feelings of loneliness, as there might not be as much social life as some need.
1. Working from home can create many problems.
The truth is that a complete working world that thrives solely online may never exist. There are many challenges evolving around working from home, as we have mentioned in previous blogs.
However, there is a solid chance that after the whole pandemic is solved, the world will continue in some form of a hybrid combination of both online and offline, very much dependent on the industry and circumstances.
2. The power of habit
Companies in the past years might not have been making use of remote work due to force of habit, but after this strong push caused by the pandemic, anything can be expected. The same power of habit can cause employees to get used to working remotely, and face a difficulty in making them come back to work at an office.
3. Companies want to maximize investments
On top of that, companies have already invested in digital tools, therefore, going back to a fully physical work life can be perceived as a step backwards, since, then, the investment would have been wasted.
On the other hand, other organizations can fall behind by not taking the chance to invest in programs that can help them stay on top, such as our soft skill programs.
Only time can tell what will actually take place in the future, but it might be a good idea to expect anything!
Also published on Medium.