Peaks and pits of working from home
The debate between employee’s preferences to work from home versus working from the office continues to be a hot topic in the world of work. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, working from home, especially for legal support staff, was incredibly rare and seen almost as a luxury handed to top-tier employees or freelance workers. Now, it is something almost everyone has experienced, and, of course, everyone has their opinions on it.
Let’s delve into the two viewpoints and settle this once and for all.
A strong argument can be made to work from home as it has been linked to increased productivity and a better work life balance. The elimination of commuting time and expenses means there are lower levels of stress, there is a more efficient use of resources, as well as the opportunity for greater productivity. As well, employees generally find lower levels of stress due to the absence of workplace politics and drama. There are also fewer distractions and interruptions from colleagues which contributes to the heightened productivity levels. Finally, working from home is also undoubtedly linked to a better work life balance, allowing employees to spend more time with their family and loved ones. This adds to a positive attitude towards work, as employees also find time to have outside hobbies and interests.
On the other hand, this setup does not suit all employees as it can be costly, unsustainable, and have detrimental effects on mental health. Many find that there is a blurred line between the work and the home environment when working from home, and some need to go the extra distance to separate the two. As work is so readily accessible, the temptation to overwork is presented, causing potential for employee burnout and low satisfaction. There are also added distractions at home, whether that be children, partners or family members, housemates, or workers, this has the potential to hinder efficiency. Despite this, a number of employees struggle with working remotely due to the lack of personal connections with colleagues. They miss the social connections that are only possible through genuine human contact, which can breed feelings of loneliness and isolation. Many then become over dependent on technology, which although is a vital resource in the modern day, can prove problematic when there are undeniable disruptions with the network or hardware. Lastly, not all employees have the adequate resources or environments to facilitate effective working from home. Whilst most firms will provide employees with the physical equipment they need, what many fail to consider is that not everyone will have the space to setup a home office, nor can everyone afford the associated running costs such as electricity.
So … where do YOU stand in this ongoing debate? Ultimately, it depends on your personality type, skills, goals, and values. Are you someone who likes the flexibility and productivity that comes with working remotely? Or are you a person who despises technology and values making human connections with people, only available through working in the office?
Luckily, it looks like we are heading into a world of limitless options, with many firms offering their staff with the ability to work flexibly. This proves beneficial to both firms and employees, as with the choice, employees are expected to maximise work efforts as they will have high morale and fulfilment in their job.