The COVID-19 pandemic has been a major turning point in day-to-day life and has also changed the face of the business world and how we conduct ourselves at work. This has been for both good and for ill. Many companies have seen large turn-overs in staff and experienced mass lay-offs. This is not to mention the fact that many businesses have not been able to cope under the pressure of this monumental time and have sadly gone under.
But for many businesses that have thankfully managed to stay afloat, they have had to change tack and general approach to their policy of ‘business as usual’ (no pun intended). One way in which companies have seen change is in where their usual operations are being conducted. Around the globe, those of us in employment have had to clear out some space in the corner of our bedrooms and set up a home office, with only a crappy webcam for a conference room.
You cannot imagine this is wholly ideal, turning in a ten-story highrise for a messy bedroom that you share your baby’s cot with. However, As we slowly (and safely) approach the end of this slew of lockdowns and we return to our offices, it may be worth considering some of the net positives of this time working from home.
We won’t lie, it has been challenging, but for many, it has been rewarding. Here are some reasons why working from home could/should become more of a reality:
No More Commuting!
Commuting is a constant and daily worry for many people; what with busy and overwhelming rush hour periods, delays, and cancellations, it can all become very stressful. The ability to work from home has partially alleviated this stress. Not only do employees not have to face the overwhelming burden of travel and the complications that come with it, but also a large part of the success of your business comes from the productivity of your employees. People are at their most productive when they are well-rested and ready and raring to go. Commuting to work every day carves out a large chunk of your morning, especially if you have far to travel. Without these large, potentially unnecessary travel times, it allows employees to have greater access to a full night’s sleep and enough time to prepare and settle into the working day. For this reason, it almost seems like a no-brainer and almost backward to travel such huge distances when we can easily do it from the comfort of our homes. Of course, this is not the sole reason, and it is entirely possible that people will take these long commutes over so that they can work in their own dedicated workspace. However, everyone dreams of rolling out of bed and into the office; well, work from home has allowed this dream to be a reality!
Accessibility of Technology
Before, you’d have to shell out large sums of money to be able to work at the same level that you would at the office, computers, printers, copiers, fax machines, the works: all very expensive pieces of kit. Nowadays, with the insane capability of smartphones, you could probably conduct all of your business from your pocket. What’s more, it is now easier than ever to get your hands on a high-end laptop. Companies are able to rent out devices such as a top-of-the-range MacBook Pro so that their employees can work at their best. No longer does your business need to supply an entire office with networking servers and hulking printer systems. The whole process can be streamlined with rentals and thus saving time and money.
An element that seems to hamper worker efficiency and overall productivity is employee happiness. This is fairly self-explanatory: the more dissatisfied and unhappy your employees are, the less inclined they are to perform to meet the standards of your business or even at their own highest standard. And who could blame them, with some offices offering cramped and stuffy conditions, jammed into a cubicle? There is very little room here to make space your own and thus make you feel disconnected from your work. This is why many modern (especially Californian) companies have tried to make their workspaces more of an inviting and vibrant place to work in. Though it has been somewhat mocked, you can’t deny how much more comfortable you’d be workshopping ideas on bean bags! That said, The counterargument to this is that workers will get too comfortable and may even be distracted. Furthermore, it’s quite expensive to replace every desk with a treadmill desk.
This is why the move to the home office may be the solution businesses need. Working from home allows employees to be in the safe and familiar comfort of their homes. Though many people thrive working around their co-workers, with the advances in conference calls and online meeting rooms, that connection has not been lost. In fact, it may have even been enhanced as people have been forming connections with people globally with just the click of a button. Now, of course, not everyone has a separate office room in their house, nor do some have space in their bedrooms to work out of, and it goes without saying that not all jobs can be performed at home. But it’s worth considering that for those that can and those that want to, you could have a more efficient and overall happy workforce.
Many people cannot wait to return to the office, and that is great. But we should use this past year to improve on what we had before and not simply go back to the way things were. We have learned many lessons from this. For one, the business world is moving more online, rendering many industries obsolete: namely retail. A way to stay at homework could be implemented by introducing the four-day working week, which has been heavily discussed over the past year. Whatever the case may be, we look forward to seeing what lessons businesses take away from this and how they implement them in their own way!