Unquestionably, COVID-19 has been a game changer in many aspects, including the way we work. Offices, shops, factories, restaurants, hairdressers (the list goes on) have been forced to close and those of us lucky enough to be able to work from home have had to adapt very quickly to a new way of working.
Businesses have adopted new remote and virtual ways of working and you have to wonder whether we will ever return to the “normal” we knew before the pandemic struck.
Whilst it may have taken some getting used to, I think on the whole people have shown that they can be just as effective (if not more so) than if they were in the office. This is my personal observation from speaking to colleagues, clients and friends though I know I don’t speak for everyone. Working from home certainly has brought its own challenges. There are pros and cons of working remotely, some of the key points are as follows though this is by no means an exhaustive list:
- Greater flexibility
- Improved work-life balance
- Lack of commuting, travel to meetings (saving time and money)
- Can be difficult to ‘switch off’ from work
- Tendency to work longer hours, due to lack of travel etc
- Distractions (children, pets, partners!) – I feel for those who are currently juggling a full time job, and home schooling their children, this must be a real challenge
There is no doubt that businesses will need to try and be flexible where possible, when it comes to planning for the new world of working. This is an opportunity to re-evaluate previous working practises and develop a new innovative approach which works for both the company and its employees. Wellbeing has to play a key part in such plans and that’s why, for me, it is so important that businesses ask employees for their feedback and opinions on what they would like the new working environment to look like in future.
Lots of things to consider, and no doubt many firms are already hard at work with their plans. It will be very interesting to see how things develop over the coming months.
On a personal level, I would like a mix of remote working and time in the office. I like working from home but I do miss the face to face interaction and that team ethos you get when you are in the office. Teams and Zoom are great, but there is no substitute for actual human interaction!