Before the global spread of Covid-19 and the pandemic in 2020, work from home was considered absurd and lazy by some employees and managers. People thought of this to be less productive and it can easily ruin a company.
But in this pandemic of covid-19, almost all companies have implemented policies for work from home or something in between work from home and office. People are now getting used to working from home which brings us to the question about our work environment in the future. Will humanity be forced to go back to work in the office after the pandemic of Covid-19? Or will we permanently implement policies of work from home? or something in between?
We are no God to tell the future of humanity but we can predict certain possibilities. But let’s not dive far into the future. Instead, let’s look at this new year of 2021. Will work from home be the new normal in 2021? Let’s find out.
Life Before Covid-19
Can any of you remember how our workdays were like before the pandemic hit us? We all had to wake up early. For most of us, it was at 6 am and those who lived too far away from their office had to wake up earlier. But now most of us wake up at 8 pm. Why the difference in sleep schedule? What was the cause of our early rise ups? The main reason for us to wake up early was to commute.
Yes, the commute was the main reason for us to sacrifice our comfortable early morning sleep hours, quick breakfast (some ideas during lockdown), and rush. Because of the commute, we hardly had any time and energy left for ourselves. As a result, we exercised less, cooked instant foods like noodles, and ruined our healthy diet. This causes demotivation in work and less productivity.
Commuting alone was responsible for wasting hours of our daily lives. Some surveys show that an average American worker had to spend more than 90 minutes commuting on workdays. It is considered to be the worst part of workdays.
Work from home before the pandemic
Many managers were able to identify the problem of commuting and came up with the solution of flexible working, where you can work remotely from your home for 1 or 2 workdays. Some workaholic employees pushed it to another level. They started to utilize their commute time by working with their laptops in the subway and transportation.
Pros of work from home
The result was amazing. Employees showed a dramatic increase in their productivity, managers were able to keep their employees happy and under control. This brought companies in consideration of choosing work from home as an alternative way of work. Various universities and research institutions were conducting surveys to figure out the positive outcomes of work from home.
Research from Harvard and New York University showed that work from home not only increases productivity but also increases the employee’s motivation and focus which causes a workday to be 48.5 minutes longer. Probably employees are using their commuting time for work.
So does that mean work from home will be our future of work and considered the new normal? Well before making any decision, we need to consider both sides of one thing. We have seen the positive sides. Now let’s have a look at the negative sides.
Cons of work from home
Like all things in the world, work from home has its downside. The first one is the work environment.
Work from home has eliminated the need to commute by turning our house or bedrooms into our office. So the question is, where are you gonna rest if your home is your office? This was the problem with all of us when the pandemic hit us and we started working from home. We could not make up a schedule of doing things properly. “Start a new hobby, start a blog!?”
It was hard to maintain a balance between work life and personal life. But it seems like everyone needed one or two weeks to overcome this difficulty. Now they have scheduled their work perfectly with their life and have time to do all other personal things.
Another problem is work from home cannot be implemented for production line workers, who are physically bound for their geographical location. So we can conclude that work is only meant for white-collar workers.
One sacrifice the white-collar workers have to make is the services and facilities they could get in an office environment.
What is the future of our work environment?
So, despite the cons of working at home, will it be considered as the new normal? We think yes. Work from home can be considered as the new normal in 2021. Surveys have shown that over 90% of the people do not want to go back to the office for work.
There are reasons for it. Some people have taken work from home for granted and moved out of the urban areas to enjoy a greener environment. Some do not want to deal with the boredom and hassle of commuting and others have completely rearranged their lifestyle centering work from home. For these people, going back to the office can cause demotivation and less productivity. Because of these reasons, work from home could be permanent for the coming future.
Work from home now and possible alternate work environments for the future
Let’s just have a look at our lifestyle. We wake up at 8 pm. Some at 9 pm. Brush our teeth, have breakfast, and then sit in front of our computer without any worry of commuting and dressing up. Our personal life has been well balanced with our work life for more than 8 months. Do you want to throw away this harmonious lifestyle? Obviously, no. Just like you, the majority of white-collar workers do not want to go back to work in the office.
But you cannot work completely without an office environment. That is why many managers are proposing alternate solutions like a hybrid office. In a hybrid office, you generally work from home on all workdays and come to the office for meetings and teamwork projects. This keeps all the employee’s happy while also maintaining a proper office environment.