During these uncertain times, we are adjusting our lives in ways we would not have even imagined previously. The course of the pandemic is uncertain. Of course, we all devoutly wish for it to end as soon as possible. However, the question remains, what will the new normal look like? In the past couple of decades, the growth of the internet and at-home video conferencing software has given a strong push in the direction of teleworking. More and more people are finding that they can do their work just as efficiently and in some cases, more so by working from home. The coronavirus outbreak is likely to take what was already a strong tendency and give it a powerful new impetus.
It is important to note that many jobs simply can’t be done from home. For example, waiters, chefs, electricians, barbers, and plumbers, to name just a few. Obviously, these professions will continue to require in-person interaction and going to a job site every day. Nevertheless, for those professions that do offer the option to work from home, it can be a preferred model with certain caveats.
One advantage of teleworking is the elimination of a twice-daily commute. As a result, workers can be more efficient and remove the environmental impacts of driving to and from work by taking one more car off the roads. Employees who are particularly dedicated are likely to work even longer hours. As an employer, you may see a spike in overall productivity. Added flexibility can allow an employee to handle issues at home without the need to call in sick or take a day off. Working from home may result in less stressed and more fulfilled employees and a better work-life balance.
Before we rush to embrace the concept of work from home, we should also consider some possible downsides. Less motivated employees may be less productive, and for some individuals, the distractions of a home environment may make it difficult for them to focus on their job. Working from home generally is most effective for creative, highly motivated individuals.
An intangible concern is the loss of team spirit and camaraderie that takes place in an office setting. When everyone is working from home, you may miss those opportunities for interaction and team members to bounce ideas off one another in a casual setting. An isolated employee may feel psychologically abandoned and could begin to lose sight of their purpose and the overall mission of the organization. Regular conference calls, video chats, or online interactions can partially alleviate these downsides. Still, sometimes there is no substitute for an in-person dialog.
The months and years ahead are likely to see many social changes because of the Coronavirus outbreak. Some of these changes may be short-lived, but others are likely to become a permanent feature of our society. Working from home may very well become the new normal for many fields and industries. However, it is important not to lose out on team building and social interaction, regular face to face meetings and some time in an office environment will remain important to the psychological health and productivity of individual employees and the organization as a whole.
Explore other articles to help with your business!