I’m not really sure where we’re at on the working from home debate these days. Earlier there was uproar about having to return to the office, but it seems to have died down a bit now. Some people have grudgingly accepted the return, some have purposefully quit and found work that suited them better, while others are more than happy that things are somewhat back to normal.
I’m a huge fan of working from home. My job requires me to be at a computer with an internet connection – that’s all. And with my boss based in the UK, and most of my meetings online anyway, there is little point in me travelling an hour to get to an office. Prior to the pandemic I was quite often not doing it.
But although I am a fan, and I believe that for my job and personality it works for me, I can see why not everyone is. And that’s on both the individual and company level. Because while some companies were able to downsize and save by switching employees remotely, others got stuck with a huge empty building, having to pay for everything as usual, plus having employees at home whining about wanting additional hardware and office setups. I’m not at all surprised that many have now insisted employees go back to the office. Yes, for some it’s laziness and reluctance to change, but for others it doesn’t make sense.
Some individuals reveled in the home office situation. Their productivity went up. Their happiness improved. Others did not. They worked in their pyjamas. They prioritized just about anything else over work. Their motivation and productivity decreased. And socially, they struggled.
I think it’s great the pandemic opened up WFH possibilities. But I also think that in many cases, the return to a hybrid model is a good compromise. If I was just starting out in my career, working remotely would have been the wrong thing to do. I needed more active supervision then. Though I’m happy that in this stage it works for me to be at home. I can listen to music all day, I can take off for a swim in the morning and work late. But I appreciate that going into the office sometimes is inevitable. Because while there’s no doubt that many things can easily be done remotely, you can’t ignore the fact that for certain things nothing compares to face to face.
In any case, I don’t have to worry about it for a while. I won’t go back to work properly until 2024… and then I’ll be part time. Who knows how the modern office will look like then!