Before the crisis we are currently enduring took hold, just a few weeks ago in fact, everyone who worked, or at least most of us who work, probably spent several hours of each week sitting in cars, or on busses, or on trains, or even flying in and out of airports, because of work-related commitments.
Then the virus hit us and suddenly people were being sent home to carry out their work safely away from their co-workers. Now, in the UK, after almost three weeks of working from home, will workers want to go back to the way things were?
Do you want to return to spending too many hours of your day just commuting between work and home? Feeling frustrated when you’re stuck in traffic jams? Arrive late and stressed to workplaces because of public transport delays? Get home late and stressed for exactly the same reasons? Eat your evening meals in fuming, exhausted silence?
Now that we have had a taste of what it feels like to carry on with our jobs, and successfully so, from home, who wants to just give up all the new-found benefits of home-working to return to the old ways? People see their families more. There are no stressful commutes. No running late because of public transport. And for each of us, I’m sure there are additional, more individualised attractions for continuing on with home-working even after the virus has been defeated and we are allowed to lift lockdown restrictions.
Of course it’s not all smelling of roses for everyone who is trying to work from home. Some people find it more stressful because they now have to deal with kids, partners and pets all while trying to fit in a certain number of hours of work per day. Others find it additionally taxing because they are not at their own office desk but are instead sitting at the kitchen table and so they find motivation an issue. Some are too distracted by making coffees or teas, or trying out a new baking recipe or catching up with some domestic chore instead. There might even be those who need the company of others to perform their tasks and now find that the peace and quiet of home just stifles their creativity.
Whichever of the two groups you side with when it comes to the issue of ‘working from home’ just remember that work, for many of us, may never be quite the same as it was ever again. Some changes will be inevitable.
How do you think the way you approach your job in the future will differ once corona virus restrictions are lifted? Are you expecting certain changes to take place but not others? Will there be work-related things you will feel less inclined to do once the crisis is over? How do you think you will feel about resuming that daily, sometimes almost torturous, commute?
Now you have proven to yourselves and to your employers that you can work from home quite successfully, are there any adjustments to your work/life balance you expect to happen once the crisis has ended? Over the coming weeks we will all have plenty of time to consider not only the merits of the work we do, but also the advantages and disadvantages involved in WHERE we actually perform that work.
Stay safe and stay home.