What Happens with Working Now?
One of the things that I see popping up is what is going to happen about work from home. Should companies continue with allowing work from home? Or should we transition back to an office? And the route forward with what to do after COVID isn’t one path but several. Let me explain in this blog.
Before COVID, workers would wake up, get ready for work and probably more or less spend an hour in traffic and if they have kids, they would take them to school. With working from home and even having online schooling, people would just wake up and roll out of bed and turn on a computer, no need to travel into traffic, no need to spend an hour getting ready. It means waking up later, gaining some hours to sleep and getting more energy. With the vaccine numbers increasing and with covid infections decreasing (currently) we are seeing a small return to normal. This is when I read an interesting article from Business Insider about Apple workers wanting to work from home, but Apple is still planning on returning to the office. Will other companies follow suit as they did when the mega tech companies made working from home the new norm? I think there are going to be 3 types of future states when it comes to work this fall and beyond.
Working from Home
Having the ability to work from home is saving a lot of people time because not having to spend time get ready or sitting in traffic as well as savings in gas not to mention feeling a little more refreshed. One of the counter arguments I have heard that working from home creates a laxed and lazy atmosphere and cuts back on productivity. However, I have seen the exact opposite effect due to the stresses / distractions of the offices or getting to work fade away. Also, some people feel more comfortable with having their office and their workspace in the same place and not having to rush every morning. Also, with many people investing in telecommunications work, it makes it easier to keep in touch with workers. Maybe if COVID happened 20 years ago this would be a whole different story but since it happened in the age of cloud-based technology, the reality of working from home becomes easier.
Working from the Office
Working from home isn’t for everyone and let’s face it some people like keeping the office within the office and not bleeding into their home. There are going to be some people that want to go back into the office, and offices might change in a way that caters to these people. Gone could be the crammed offices where 4 people share 1 cubical or share a massive table in an open office. Offices could also become more video conference focused with more conference rooms to keep the work from home and office people in more communication. I know when I worked from an office one of the biggest and toughest things with so many people in the offices was no conference rooms due to so many needing it.
The Hybrid Model
Just incase you don’t know what the hybrid model is, it’s a model where you only go into the office occasional for a few hours, such as if you needed to meet with your team, you meet in person and do all your meetings within that few hours then you go home. You don’t stay and work, the hybrid model to me is probably where companies are going to meet in the middle for a lot of workers especially in this article outlined by Bloomberg where companies are already doing this. This could also help their workers save money by not needing them to be living close to work but close enough to meet maybe twice a week.
Will Busines Shift to Giving Workers Options?
I think there is going to be a massive shift in worker talent, if companies are no longer wanting their workers to work from home but rather in an office and vice versa I think we will see a shifting demographic of talent between many businesses. People will move to companies that allow them to choose their work style. Companies as they shifted in the past with creating nap rooms, having big open kitchens, among the many other amenities will need to bring workable options because not all workers are the same. Some need to work from home to take care of someone or maybe working from home helps with their focus because of the distractions that can come with working at the office.
What Happens In The Future? 2 words: Educated Confusion
This is just an educated guess supported by a few articles from Bloomberg, Slate, and VOX that break down where it could all be going. The truth be told it will be a transition to figure out how to balance mental health, work ethic and hours. The talent pool and jobs will change in how companies will handle them, and it will be a trial-and-error culture change.
There is no one size fits all approach to what the future will be. Companies are going to try a variety of approaches to meet the needs of the work and the workforce. Some plans might work, and companies adopt that. Some approaches might fail, and companies try something else. Working will have forever changed due to this pandemic and where it will go…that’s anyone’s guess.