As we well know, the pandemic has affected millions of lives in one way or another. From a business perspective, which is the basis of this article, it has shifted the way we work from in person at the office to home alone. Initially, the shift was more complex, it was sudden, and the technology infrastructure was not in place. Many people, including myself, did not have any computer or access to work files early.
This lack of technology issue leads to the first days or so a blackout period. Most work I was doing on the mobile phone (answering emails and such); otherwise, I had no access. This lull was quickly addressed. Soon enough, the technology was made available and in place to pick up and set up at home. From the black-out period to fully operational didn't take very long. The lack of access quickly shifts into more key than before, leading to longer screen time, more work, and longer hours. The exciting thing here is the longer work didn't feel long, at least initially.
By working remotely, we save on gas, insurance, car maintenance. From a mental health perspective, we don't need to deal with traffic or weather and the hustle and bustle of time. Now, I can simply walk to the office and plug into work. The fact that I can plug in within a few steps in the morning is impressive and is something working in the office can never achieve.
Fast-forwarding to today, after nearly two years of the pandemic, many companies are now requiring people to return to the office. A few reasons to come back to the office that I have come across are; some people prefer the interaction of seeing people in person, office buildings remain empty, and any business located in or around the office needs people to start purchasing again from them. Those are both fair points. I also hear about accountability. CEOs or founders want to ensure people are working, and in other cases, the old school mentality of I can see you sitting there is another reason. But then there's the other side of the equation.
Other folks prefer to stay on remotely, don't have the appetite to converse in person, or don't need it from a mental health perspective. Some folks are wonderful, stimulating the economy from the comfort of their homes and prefer the workflow of just being home. Working from home, at least for me, is more flexible, relieves the burden of commuting, and enables me to work more efficiently. I interact with people from my community and my family, and that satisfies that bucket for me.
Companies have realized that going back to full back in the office doesn't make sense, and most are adopting a hybrid system of sorts. Perhaps enabling the employee to attend the office once or twice a week, sometimes more and others less depending on your role. I prefer the remote work option, but I completely respect anyone who prefers the other options. I am curious which options you choose and why?