With the onset of the pandemic came a rather spectacular exodus. In droves, people moved away from schools and offices to home offices and dining room tables. And now, more than a year later, some big companies have already made plans to allow working from home to continue after the pandemic is over.
Back when it first began, the mindset was “do what we have to do until we can all get back into the office.” But that has shifted somewhat. Even with challenges like at-home schooling, loud neighbors, and other distractions, many people really like the convenience of working from home. Sweatpants and all.
So, what might the professional world look like when things get back to normal? Probably more flexible than ever before.
Back to the Office Full-Time
Based on answers that employees and employers give when asked, this seems the least popular option at this point. But it is still the ideal for a number of organizations and employees.
In a recent survey conducted by Seyfarth at Work, it was found that 61% of employees miss regular in-person interactions with their colleagues. 40% miss happy hours, lunches, and breakroom chats. And 42% miss the structure and schedule inherent of a formal office environment. 16% even said they have missed the commute (the transition/downtime, one would assume; not the actual traffic).
What they wouldn’t miss going back into the office? 37% would not miss all the interruptions by the kids at home.
Working From Home Full-Time
For those who have a dedicated home office or other comfortable set-up, this option can be appealing. Interruptions aside, working from home has had its benefits.
First of all, the commute time is next to nothing. You get to wear comfy, casual clothing (especially bottoms that go unseen during Zoom meetings). You can use any breaks to take care of little chores around the house. And as long as you get your work done, you have a certain amount of scheduling flexibility to do so.
For anyone who might prefer working from home full-time, demand for remote work has increased over the course of the pandemic. According to Indeed.com, the proportion of remote job listings increased from 2.9% in January of 2020 to 6.9% last month. So, there are plenty of opportunities to be had.
This appears to be the most popular choice right now. With the hybrid model, employees can enjoy the best of both worlds: the convenience of working from home some days paired with the socialization and structure of a formal office on other days.
Another survey by Microsoft shows 73% of respondents desiring this kind of flexible work environment. They want more control over where they work. It would make them happier and more satisfied.
It follows that happier employees are more productive employees. And more productive employees are, quite simply, good for business. For this, some major companies have already adopted the hybrid model.
The Bottom Line?
The swift move to working from home was not without its hiccups. There have been issues with cybersecurity, communication between employees, and so forth. But these are issues that have been largely resolved across the board at this point.
The fact that people were able to be productive in the process proves that working from home can be a feasible option for many moving forward. If they haven’t already done so, businesses that can consider flexibility in work locations would be wise to do so, to attract and keep their best employees.
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