Pandemic or Not, WFH is Not One Size Fits All

Not long ago, working from home was considered an added benefit offered by employers to provide better work-life balance for employees. In order to reduce attrition and boost talent recruitment, companies began to offer the option when they recognized team members were happier when given a dose of flexibility. With continually evolving technology, remote work proved to be even easier and as a by-product, companies realized they could save money on their real estate costs with fewer employees utilizing office space. 

There are days that working from home is just easier than trudging into the office. After all, who wants to navigate their way into the office during a blizzard? But to be efficient and effective while working outside the office, employees need to be properly equipped with everything from technology to a comfortable and productive workspace. For those who are working from home with children or pets present, finding the ability to focus on work can be extremely challenging, blurring the lines of work-life balance into one fluid period. There is also the potential impact on company culture when it comes to the loss of camaraderie and mentorship between colleagues when we are 100% physically separated. There’s good reason that overall team development and learning by osmosis tends to thrive when people share the same space.

Throughout this pandemic, working from home has been considered widely successful in the face of state-ordered stay-at-home mandates. Technology such as Zoom meetings or high-tech virtual tour software platforms allow work to continue and teams to collaborate. For some companies who previously did not allow their employees to work from home, it’s proven to be a fully functional option. In fact, some of the world’s most notorious businesses, like Twitter and Shopify, have announced that their employees can continue working from home forever. But herein lies the complexity of the situation: Not everyone wants to work from home all the time. The office provides a space for productivity that many employees rely on. The key seems to be providing employees flexibility with both physical office and WFH options.

While COVID-19 has opened the eyes of lots of businesses to having employees work remotely, many people are already looking forward to the future of life in the office. If some employers determine WFH should be permanently implemented, how will it affect the livelihood of businesses and their employees? It is safe to say that in the eyes of some, working from home may be a whole lot less appealing when it becomes a requirement rather than a benefit. It also presents the question of whether working from home during COVID-19 was successful because people enjoyed it, or rather they had no choice in the matter and knew that it had a likely expiration date.

With the future of the workplace always evolving, offices must learn to shift with the times. Whether it’s taking bits and pieces from the traditional office model, or moving to something entirely new, it will be interesting to see how the modern workplace adapts to the rapid change we’re facing as a result of COVID-19. Even though the pandemic is pushing this issue to the forefront, it’s safe to say that a transformation of the modern workplace and how companies will utilize WFH as part of their workplace strategy remains to be seen.

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