Written By Rachel Gersten
While work from home was always A Thing for some of us, the pandemic forced us all into working out of our living space. Needless to say, this wouldn’t be the reason I’d want WFH to become more common, but it’s the hand we were dealt!
Luckily, the pandemic is improving and hopefully there will be a day in the not so distant future where it’s just a memory (a really bad one).
Work from home, however, should not be something we reflect on with nostalgia.
Despite the unfortunate circumstances, WFH was a lifesaver for so many people. Can you imagine the number of people who wouldn’t have been able to keep their jobs, or stay safe, if this pandemic happened even 10 years ago? It’s pretty amazing how much technology has allowed us to be connected and productive without actually physically being in an office.
Not all of us do our best work in our homes, but that doesn’t mean we should force people back to the office.
There are large groups of people including caregivers, those managing health conditions, and those with previously far commutes who have been very vocal about the push for everyone to go back to the office – and rightfully so. Their lives have become infinitely easier without needing to physically go to an office.
People have reported that it increases productively and they actually do MORE work while they’re at home. It can save them money on childcare, thus making their job more sustainable. Those managing health conditions can take breaks in the middle of the day, allowing them to complete work they might otherwise not be able to finish.
Even if you don’t fit into one of the above categories I used as an example, the option of WFH creates a much better work/life balance. It allows for individual differences in working styles, such as those who just perform better at night or early in the morning.
So why such a big push to return to our previously rigid structure?
A lot of the conversation has been dominated by the (very real) concern that commercial areas won’t recover without people returning to the office. If you own a business in one of those areas, I feel for you. The pandemic has not been easy, to say the least. But instead of pushing people back into a system that wasn’t really working, why not re-imagine it? What if there was more housing in those areas so the deli that was formerly on your way to work is now in your neighborhood?
Or, what if we just accepted that a hybrid model may be the best option?
Allow people to choose what works best for them. Request people come in for special circumstances (if necessary) and give them the freedom otherwise.
We’ve lived far too long in an inflexible world that doesn’t allow for people to thrive in the way that works best for them.
Our “normal” has been completely shaken up thanks to COVID. Why not create a new normal that works for everyone? Seems like a no-brainer to me!