As the pandemic continues to wane, and we all slowly return to some semblance of normality, a question looms large in people’s minds. What is our new normal? No sector is unaffected and perhaps most challenged is that of the traditional office as a place of work. Some professions do require being performed in a certain place, however, for anyone who has been able to work from home, many have doubts as to whether they really need to return to their desks to perform their duties. Here we’ll examine some of the pros and cons of home working so you can make an informed choice going forward in your career.
Starting with the benefits the one felt by most is the convenience of working from home. The commute is immediately cancelled meaning no standing at the bus stop in the rain, and more time to get ready in the morning (if at all!). This reduced stress contributes to better physical health and improved mental wellbeing. For those with young children, working from home can be useful for childcare, or flexible working arrangements around the school run. There are also those who have reported that rather than losing focus, they have actually experienced an increase in productivity. Perhaps this is a result of reduced stress working from home? Less time in the office can also lead to a better work life balance. Those hours you would have spent in traffic can now be put to more worthwhile use.
Aside from personal benefits, working from home has also seen improvements to the environment. The first lockdown saw a huge rise in wildlife activity and air quality due to fewer cars on the road. Something to consider given that we are all becoming more aware of climate issues.
Back to the grind
Many of the pros of working at home have also been found to be cons for some employees. Isolation is a huge issue, with many people missing the interaction with their coworkers due to working from home because of COVID. Plenty also find that the lack of delineation between home and work make a healthy work life balance challenging. It has never been easier to stay at work for longer when your commute is only downstairs. These in particular can have negative effects on mental health. Not only can the office mitigate them, but it also provides a solution to another frustrating problem. IT issues. These are generally easier to solve in house as everyone is using the same network and equipment. This can not be said of home working. Even if all equipment is provided the internet provider will likely vary. This can cause complications with signal strength in different areas as well as problems with the provider themselves.
It’s clear then that whilst working from home is useful there are still some complications that need ironing out. As with most things a compromise would appear to resolve many of these. Concerns. A flexible approach to working arrangements would allow for varying individual needs, without sacrificing the solidarity and support fund working alongside your team.
This summary of a huge debate can’t hope to cover every aspect, but acts as a starting point for your own research. Evaluate your situation to make the right choice for you.