A workplace is defined as a building or room where people perform their jobs. So, have our own homes now become our workplaces? As lockdown eases and with people slowly returning to their desks will our working patterns and our workplaces ever be the same? One thing we do know is that coronavirus has forced many companies that had previously been reluctant to allow employees to work from home, to have maybe seen the benefits for themselves.
Virtual meetings definitely save travel time and money, but do they work for everyone? And should we be considering how this new virtual way of working affects our mental health and relationships with others? One problem we know that people working from home have experienced is a lack of boundaries. If your home is not set up for remote working, then your kitchen table might well be both your desk and where you eat dinner. In the main, we all behave differently at work and at home but when work and personal matters are occurring in the same space, there are no cues for you to behave the way you do at work, while you are outside your physical office. Tricky.
Some people do naturally take better to working from home than others though, so does this productivity come naturally, or can you learn it? It has been a fantastic opportunity for some to be super-productive and still be able to find time to home school, walk the dog and start a new hobby. For others, it has not been so easy to juggle work, homelife and the family pets.
Some have enjoyed the space to be creative without the distraction of work colleagues around them whilst others are missing the support and energy they need from their co-workers. And what about the space between work and home? It can be difficult to “switch off” when you work from home as you feel you always need to be “on”, to always be working. You’re working through dinner; you’re working after dinner; you’re working after you put your kids to bed. There is no separation. The daily commute provided that mental separation. For many the journey to and from work is a time for gearing yourself up for a meeting or the tasks that lay ahead whilst the journey home is to reflect on the day’s events and wind down.
So, can a blend of commuting to place of work and working from home be the answer? A mix of face to face interaction and virtual working? Obviously it’s not possible in all industries such as manufacturing and hospitality, but where it is possible, should we look to secure the best of both worlds as the new norm?
We’d love to hear your experiences of working from home and what your ideal would be for the future. What have you loved, hated and what has changed for the better since lockdown.
As always stay safe, stay alert.