As many as 74% of companies will allow employees to work from home beyond the pandemic, say management experts Gartner. Tech giants facebook, Google and Twitter have all publicly announced an expansion of their pre-lockdown home-working privileges, with the latter saying workers will be allowed to remain at home forever.
If you’re lucky enough to be able to work from home during the pandemic, going back to the office will likely inspire mixed feelings.
Lockdown has meant we’ve spent far-longer in one space than would normally be considered healthy or conducive to productivity. The majority have experienced the past 8 weeks through a prism of rising and falling levels of anxiety and irritation, the bedfellows of confinement. This alone has made the prospect of a return to work feel positively desirable, as has the chance to interact with colleagues and clients face to face rather than behind alienating screens.
Modern workplaces are social settings where people form relationships that can shape their lives, from both a professional and a personal perspective, and this is something many have said they would miss if they continued to work from home.
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It’s important to remember though that this is not what working from home feels like under ordinary circumstances. As Charlie Warzal writes in the New York Times, you aren’t simply ‘working from home.’ Rather, in the current climate you’re ‘labouring under duress’ in a state of acute anxiety, and perhaps grief. So, when the threat of coronavirus diminishes and restrictions abate, working from home may seem more like a privilege and less like a sentence.
Working in lockdown with kids, for example, is at best unpredictable and at worst near-impossible. But in everyday life where different forms of support are available, flexible working can be a lifesaver for those with caring responsibilities.
Sure, working from home may mean you lose out on some of the informal chat with work colleagues, but these kinds of chats can and do take place over video. And in a hopeful post-pandemic world, small talk in the staff kitchen won’t seem quite so appealing!
The benefits of working from home include getting time back that would have been spent commuting, increased comfort and having total control of your environment.
Researchers on work and wellbeing tend to agree that working from home successfully relies on a clear separation between work life and personal life. Though some people can comfortably interweave the two, having a clear and sensible dividing line can reduce the risk of overwork and burnout.
It’s important to have a physical space dedicated to work, which is distinct from areas used for rest and relaxation. Getting your home office environment just right can prove crucial to being productive at home.
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