I am in full belief that working remotely is the future. With what has been going on in our world and everyone getting used to a new norm, I believe reform is necessary. We as humans are always adapting, making strides and always improving. This is a good thing, as constant improvement shows that our species will only continue to grow and prosper. The pandemic has forced us to look at what we saw as a normal process and make critiques in order to keep everyone safe as we recovered. One big discovery was that working from home wasn’t so bad for some industries. As a matter of fact, productivity in those industries actually went up.
Several studies over the past few months show productivity while working remotely from home is better than working in an office setting. On average, those who work from home spend 10 minutes less a day being unproductive, work one more day a week, and are 47% more productive. 77% of those who work remotely at least a few times per month show increased productivity, with 30% doing more work in less time and 24% doing more work in the same period of time according to a survey by ConnectSolutions. These statistics are quite a shock to management, as the fear was always that working from home would reduce productivity and result in lower company revenue and progress. Such a fear isn’t unfounded, but at the same time makes light of the integrity of us workers, especially those of us who are aggressively trying to climb the ladder in spite of the changes around us. A lot of management tends to only care about the bottom line and money being made, not caring about employee health and wellbeing. Working from home has shown that when employees are more happy and comfortable, more work gets done and money gets made. Despite the naysayers (who are mostly management (isn’t that funny?) ) working from home has not caused the damage that it was purported to have.
Being able to work from home has done wonders for me:
- I don’t have to pay to commute to and from work everyday saving me money
- I don’t have to commute every day, which means I don’t have to be on a stuffy train everyday (during a pandemic, which means less of a transmission rate. Omicron doesn’t care about vaccines, lets limit the risk, no?)
- I don’t have to engage in meaningless conversations at the office. I mean let’s be real, how many conversations do we have in the office that just pertain to work? My time is valuable and my work is important.
- I get to be with my family more. I care about my loved ones and I have a 3 year old that needs his dad to be involved. I much prefer him running around me bonding instead of only seeing him while I’m tired at the end of the day
- Things need to be done around the house (laundry, grocery shopping, cleaning, cooking, etc) Working from home has allowed me to stay on top of things and I feel less like my life is in shambles working most of the week and only having the weekend for housekeeping
- I am way more productive at home. I am ready to work even earlier and I can work my comfortably. I actually want to work knowing that I am in my own space and can do my own thing while I work. Something about waking up and not having to get dressed and do a grueling commute makes me want to work even harder.
- I was able to work out more at home, being a lot healthier working out during my job downtime
I could go on and on forever about how working from home has benefitted me and I am sure some people can agree with some of the bullets. The biggest boon working from home has had for me is my mental health. I don’t do good around a lot of people. I live in NY and anyone can tell you about how “eh” the subway is here. I always hated the commute ever since I was in school. It was always so much people and unnecessary shit you had to deal with just trying to get to class or get to work. All that just to go somewhere I did NOT want to be, having to leave people I wanted to be around to go be with people I did NOT want to be around (at least not everyday). Working from home changed all that. I was fully remote in the beginning of the pandemic and it was a huge breath of fresh air. Working was awesome. I was able to do even more work than before. I felt a rush of energy knowing that my “office” was right there. I felt more proactive to do the more mundane parts of my job. My PC was more equipped than the ones in my office, and I was able to multi-task with even greater efficacy. I felt closer to my son and I was able to notice his growth as a little person. I cooked more being home, saving money instead of buying overpriced city food and Uber Eats. I was even more receptive in therapy and my therapist heard the elation in my voice when we did our sessions. I felt better about the 9-5 grind knowing that the more annoying parts of it were being mitigated. I felt good overall, period. My mental health soared and I made strides with the many issues I was dealing with.
Now, I won’t pretend as though everyone can work remotely. Some industries literally cannot work remotely as per the nature of their jobs and responsibility. Some jobs are too essential to allow remote work and I get that. For those positions, working from home may be out of the question, but for the industries that do have room for remote work, the argument for it will only get more powerful. Even the industries that don’t should experiment with ways that allow their employees more flexibility with work. I’ve even seen some employers testing out a 4 day work week. That could be the starting point for an answer to working from home for those industries that can’t work remotely or do it for the majority of the time. Hire enough employees for the coverage needed to allow even one day a week for a necessary recharge and reconstruction of employee psyche and morale. I am no manager, but I still think that things can be done in the way of factoring the current climate into how we will do things going forward. Hybrid work schedules (what I currently work and am a BIG advocate for) allow for both in office work to be done as well as allowing workers to work remotely as well. A 3 day in 2 day out or 2 day in 3 day out schedule seems almost like a no brainer to me. It allows for all the benefits of working in the office (office camaraderie, socializing, etc) with the benefits of work from home (the aforementioned housekeeping, family bonding time, comfortability, etc)
Nevertheless, at the end of the day, companies that can should try their best to allow flexibility when it comes remote work. It’s 2022 and people have been working remotely long before Covid. Covid just opened the blinds and showed a lot of industries that stuffing workers in an office five days a week was not at all necessary. A lot of people faked it to make it and most of us wanted to work, just not in the office. We felt more comfortable on Teams calls in our pajamas. We liked writing reports and designing in our big comfy couches. We got more work done in ALL aspects of our lives. We were more productive. Companies saved money on unnecessary office space and equipment. Remote work is the future and anyone not down with that may unfortunately get left behind in our changing world. The next generation is here, and we are for remote work. We care about our wellbeing. Our physical, social, economic, and mental health matter to us. Let’s get with the program, people.
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