When people were busy making resolutions to exercise more, work smarter, or travel the world at the beginning of the year, who could have imagined that the year would look nothing like has been seen yet? Not only has the health of people globally and the economy of countries been affected, but the future of work after the crisis may now be a mix of work, pajamas, chores, virtual currencies, and Zoom. Working from home is here to stay; for the foreseeable future, at least.
For some people, the blurring home and work lives may stretch way into the coming year. Children will likely go back to school, as restrictions are being eased in many countries in the world, but many white-collar workers will still be urged to work in their homes. Remote work confers some benefits alright, but what would a world look like where in-person meetings were frowned upon and even handshakes could be deemed an unworthy risk for infection?
There is no denying that the pandemic can shape the future, causing for example, the results-oriented introverts to prevail in the work place. If that is true, those who thrive from in person interactions and feed off office politics could fumble for a while. Imagine nerds taking their revenge in the post pandemic work place. As the push to reopen the economy of many countries intensifies, so do feelings of dread – what will people have to give up?
Yet the fans of online work are choosing to focus on the positives. Think about the number of people considering blockchain jobs as a side hustle, or the Google search results for the top ten remote jobs. People who have never liked chitchat with colleagues or impromptu meetings are finding new productivity heights. Those worried about climate change cannot get over the prospect of reducing their carbon footprint. Working parents are appreciating the opportunity to spend more time with their families.
Set up well, advocates and experts say that remote work can help to limit time on the road. Car commutes were earlier linked with more pollution, increased stress and respiratory issues, with the average worker spending up to 54 hours each year on traffic. Remote work also helps to improve productivity. A Global Workplace Analytics research found that if most people worked remotely 50% of the time, it could lower greenhouse emissions by over 51 million metric tons each year. Who would not want a cleaner environment?
More than that, working remotely can help to save money since one does not need to spend on things like day care and gas. Companies also spend a little less on real estate. People are able to work in ways they find comfortable, which lends to increased job satisfaction. A happier worker will be a happier person in general. People get more time to pursue their goals in areas like fitness and health – you can squeeze in more workouts in your home, or prepare balanced diets more often.
Whatever the case, everyone will have a choice to make on how they view remote work. Is it to be a blessing or a challenge to overcome? You decide.