Your sofa is your office chair, the distance to your workroom is your commute and the dining table is your office. Pretty fascinating, right? Just a couple of years ago no one would’ve thought that working remotely would be so common.
In 2021, approximately 37 per cent of workers in Great Britain wished to work from home some of the time, once the Coronavirus pandemic is over. One in five wanted to be at home all the time. Despite this, 37 per cent of British workers advised they never want to work from home, with seven per cent being unsure. (Statista)
If you’re already working remotely you’ll be aware of the perks. Flexible schedule, more family time, more time to focus on your health etc. On the other hand, organisations are happy they’ve reduced the usual expenses incurred by employees in the office. There are a LOT of expenses companies avoid by implementing hybrid working from home models.
However, many CEOs have voiced that they think working from home is unproductive, and employees should return to the office at least 3 days a week. Typically to maintain the corporate culture and identity of the organisation.
If you’re working remotely post pandemic and relishing it, you might not be ready to go to return to the office.
The question is, should you continue to work remotely after the pandemic ends or not?
Mental health and work share a close correlation. Work can cause intense mental health issues which is a common problem among nine-to-fivers. Flexible work options (WFH) can play a huge role in supporting mental health at work and in life.
The impact of remote work and flexible hours is so great that 97% of the people said that having a flexible job has a “positive” impact on their health, according to the survey conducted by FlexJobs in 2018.
There’s usually very little negative energy when working from home, unlike the office where you have to deal with politics and many other kinds of social issues. On the contrary, working remotely allows you to spend more time with your family which can be energising.
For an introvert, there may be nothing more blissful than having an opportunity to work remotely. For extroverts however, it could become difficult after a few days or months, to stay at home with little interaction from colleagues and friends.
It can be hard for those with children to manage everything and still be productive at the same time. If you’re feeling negative about your work and see your work productivity decreasing, those may be signs of remote work burnout.
Where most of us only look at the brighter side of working remotely, there are also some challenges that should be considered when deciding to work remotely after a pandemic.
Starting a new job is challenging, and it becomes even more difficult when you’re starting remotely. If you’ve just started your professional career, working from home could prove to be a hurdle in defining your career path.
Staying away from the office for a year or more could force you to lose touch with your colleagues (some of you might’ve experienced this already). If you continue working remotely, you may feel isolated after some time, which for many professionals, has the ability to impact mental health well-being and work productivity.
For freshers, working from the office is a great ad indeed has a plethora of social benefits. You’ll socialise, make new friends, build a circle of colleagues who’ll not only be able to help you on a daily basis, but also throughout your career.
Whilst you might be a hard worker and your productivity levels remain the same, whether working from home or the office, management typically have a common perception that employees working remotely simply aren’t as productive as when they’re in the office. A popular ‘presenteeism’ culture often influences Management into assuming that that employees who come to the office are often more dedicated and passionate about their jobs.
Covid has forced a shift which many organisations are still adapting to, in their work practices and management capabilities, so for the short term it may feel inconvenient for bosses to manage the employees who are not present in the office, or living in different time zones and locations.
It can be frustrating for employers to track down the employees according to their availability for a meeting that was a routine at the office. This frustration can result in a change of behaviour from the management.
The flow of information can be impacted due to managers being unable to reach you immediately, resulting in potential delays or missed opportunities. When you’re working remotely and can’t get to a call or email immediately, there’s potential for you to be accused of negligence. Therefore being available is something important to consider.
People may question if you’re taking it easy rather than putting in your efforts. It becomes the responsibility (which isn’t mentioned in JD) of the work-from-home employee to be over-communicating and providing more updates on tasks they’re performing, which traditionally would not be questioned.
Working remotely is often attached to the term “flexible hours”. You might think it means that you’ll work less, however it’s in fact the opposite which is true. When you don’t have that frequent routine of going to and from the office, it’s quite easy to feel as though you’re always at work.
There’s certainly a number of benefits to working remotely, and we’ll list some of the best ones here — some you might already be aware of and some that might give you a reason to keep working remotely, even after the pandemic.
Working from home allows you to work at flexible hours. You can clock hours whenever you want, as long as you’re productive in your work and the outcome of your efforts remain in line with the description of your role. This flexibility over your working hours can be priceless when it comes to focusing on your personal life and your health. If you’re able to stick to your schedule and find that healthy work-life without compromising on your efficiency, you’re good to go. Whether it’s going to the gym, learning a new skill, running errands or spending precious time with your family, everything becomes easier and a little more manageable.
Eliminate Commute Stress
Most of us typically travel anywhere between 30 minutes and 1 hour to each-way when commuting into the office. Removing this 5–10-hour weekly commute really makes a difference to your well-being and in fact, when you calculate the cost of the commute, not only in travel expenses, but in calculating your hourly earnings rate and applying it to your travel time (10 hours travel time x hourly salary) you start to get a true sense of what it costs you.
Working remotely eliminates this cost, and hassle. The only commute you have when working from home is usually from your bedroom to your defined working space within the house.
Working remotely can save you a lot of money. Commuting or fuel costs, car maintenance, parking fees, tolls, professional clothes, and more can be reduced or eliminated altogether. These savings can be used for investing or more valuable expenses.
The savings are not just in terms of money, but also your time, which for most is an intangible benefit. The time you spend travelling between your office and home can be up to 5 hours per week. You can use that time to read books, learn new skills or spend more time with family or friends.
Eliminating the commute not only saves cost and time but surveys conducted have confirmed that since the start of Covid-19, there’s been a noticeable reduction greenhouse gas emissions. If all professionals started working remotely, even just for half the week, greenhouse gas emissions would dramatically decrease.
When making any work-related decision you should consider the impact this could have in all aspects of your life. This important. Take some time to think, and consult with family or friends who may be able to provide insight that helps you decide what could be best for you. For many of us, working from home can feel like a dream come true, especially if you’re an introvert by nature. However, it may not be as attractive for extroverts who prefer to regularly be around people.
Once decided, have an open and honest conversation with your employer or manager about your working style and preferences, that will ultimately contribute to you being a more efficient, effective, and satisfied employee.
If the decision is made that the way in which the organisation wants to move forward is at odds with what you feel will make you happy. Then you have to decide what’s more important at that moment in time, then decide your next steps.
One thing that’s certain, finding a new job whilst working from home has never been easier!
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