In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, billions of people around the world were forced to work from home.
When the pandemic was in its earliest stages and most countries went into quarantine…
Remote working was seen as the safe alternative to socially-distant office environments.
2 years later, the global economy is starting to reopen.
But while businesses are ready to get back to work, employees are a bit more reluctant to return to the office. A recent study shows that 41% of Americans want to adopt a hybrid schedule of remote/in-person work, while another 19% want to continue working remotely full-time.
Another 14% would rather quit their job than return to their old workspace.
Overall, each work environment presents its own unique pros and cons.
A traditional work environment is conducive to productivity and promotes interaction among employees, while home offices offer a tailor-made environment free of distractions and add additional comfort.
As we start to walk toward a post-COVID future, we have to ask ourselves…
Is it better to work from home or from the office?
Pros & Cons of Working From Home
Most of the pros of remote working have to do with commuting–or rather, a lack of commuting. Not having to commute saves you time waiting in traffic and money on gas or other vehicle-related expenses.
Plus, it’s healthier for the environment, too!
Working from home also allows you to be a bit more flexible with your schedule, which can take off a lot of the stress that comes with balancing your work life with your home life.
The biggest drawback to working from home, though, is the increased presence of distractions. While some employees might sneak a look at their phone during work hours, at home there are more things to tempt you.
(After all, why would anyone want to do work when they can just watch TV in the other room?)
Working from home also removes the human element of an office environment. Yes, working from home means you can be around your family, but now you’re reduced to communicating with your co-workers over Zoom or a similar platform.
This means that conversations among employees will strictly be work-related, as opposed to the more casual talking that might occur on a break.
Pros & Cons of Working From an Office
In a traditional office space, everything adheres to a sense of rigid routine. Everyone punches in for the day, does their required work over the course of an 8-hour shift, and then punches out for the night before doing it all again the next day.
It’s this rigidity that has so many workers hesitant to abandon their home office lifestyle.
A return to the office means a return to frustrating commutes, stressful deadlines, and a boring environment without much in the way of comfort.
But there is a benefit to having a routine. Not only does it keep your mind focused on your work, going into the office every day gives you an opportunity to network with your co-workers.
Working in the office also gives you a chance to become familiarized with the business you’re working for and gain more valuable work experience.
What Are the Consequences of Working From Home?
Even with the aforementioned cons of working from home, millions of people have found it preferable to working in the office. While it seems appealing in the short-term, though, there are long-term consequences stemming from a desire to work remotely.
For starters, work-related stress becomes more apparent. Normally, the end of the workday means getting to go home and spend the night relaxing.
But now that more people are working remotely, the stress becomes just another part of life at home and takes away any comfort that the end of the day provideed in a pre-pandemic work environment.
The pandemic also forced many businesses to undergo a state of “accelerated digitalization.”
Since many companies were accustomed to operating out of traditional office spaces, there wasn’t any real need to create a stable network for employees working remotely. The sudden advent of platforms like Zoom, however, forced several businesses to realize how outdated their technological capabilities were, and the initial transition to Zoom and similar services was rife with issues.
But as businesses start reopening, employers are dealing with a far greater challenge. Remote working and high levels of unemployment allowed many workers an opportunity to seek better positions, primarily ones that allow them to work from home.
Now, most businesses that struggled the most during the pandemic (hotels, restaurants, etc.) are left without the capable workforce they had prior to COVID-19.
More remote working means fewer people working in-person, which means less quality service and lost profits for companies in vulnerable industries like hospitality.
What Kind of Work Can You Do From Home?
There’s no shortage of jobs you can do from the comfort of your home. As long as you have the right tech and a stable Internet connection, you can do almost anything.
Aside from the standard office jobs, here are some remote work options you can take:
- Customer Service Representative
- Online Tutor/Educator
- Web Developer
- Content Writer
- Online Therapist
- Web Designer
- Survey Taker
In a 2019 study conducted by Upwork, it predicts that 73% of all departments will be remote by 2028. The COVID-19 pandemic has slightly accelerated this process, as remote work has quickly become the norm for millions of employees.
Does Working From Home Really Work?
Whether or not the transition to remote employment actually works depends on who you ask. There are many people who will say they love working from home, and just as many would say they prefer working in an office setting.
In 2021, 70% of remote workers said they found working from home less stressful than working in an office.
64% of workers also prefer hybrid work over working in a traditional work environment.
Multiple studies have also shown worker productivity increase since the shift to remote work.
Percentages range from a 13% increase to as high as 77%.
However, as with any study, there are always outliers and exceptions. While productivity and worker happiness may increase with remote work, there are still countless employees who can’t wait to get back to the office.