Love it or hate it, for over a year many office-based workers have been working from home. More people than ever have experienced this new working environment. And with many companies embracing a mix of home and office working, remote working could be here to stay.
Of course, just like the traditional working environment, there are advantages and disadvantages.
Advantages of working from home
People quickly discovered there were several benefits to working from home – many of which will be hard to give up on.
- Childcare – Working from home has helped parents manage their finances better when it comes to childcare costs. The cost of breakfast clubs, after-school clubs, and late pick-up penalties left many parents out of pocket. But since working from home, plenty has found they aren’t rushing in the morning or making a mad dash at 5 pm. Thanks to working from home, many businesses have been more flexible in their working hours, allowing parents to start and finish at different times to help fit in with childcare.
- Increased productivity – A surprising benefit for employers was that employees are in fact more productive when working from home. Many meetings that previously lasted hours could be confined to a simple email exchange or a short online video chat. Having a more peaceful atmosphere allows workers to get more done without getting distracted.
- Environmental impact – The reduction of cars and passengers on public transport has led to a marked reduction in air pollution. During the first lockdown, it was found that London’s nitrogen dioxide levels decreased by an average of 31%.
Disadvantages of working from home
While the financial benefits to working from are undeniable, some people have struggled with other aspects of being away from the office.
- Feeling isolated –Mental health concerns have increased dramatically over lockdown. While socializing is now allowed, some people have found that working from home has left them feeling more isolated and disconnected from their colleagues.
- Unable to switch off – Staying at home has left many feeling like they never leave the office. With some people admitting to checking and sending emails late at night and on weekends.
- Distrust – Working from home has left many employees feeling their employers don’t trust them. Managers have had to find new ways of monitoring employees. However, when a manager makes a negative assumption about an employee’s behavior and decides to supervise them more closely, it can cause psychological distress that can harm performance.
Many companies have realized productivity, staff retention, and employee happiness and satisfaction have increased since the workforce has been at home. While there is still some way to go to find the perfect balance, companies will likely combine working from home with office days in a hybrid approach. Now, how to go about that four-day week?