Maybe Remote Work isn’t Here to Stay.
Recently I met up with a couple of my friends and colleagues after a long time. Like most discussions, our conversation diverted to the most discussed topic of this year. The New Normal.
What is the new normal? Will a lot of companies stick with it after 2020? What about the jobs that are best done with someone physically present?
The consensus was that the ‘new normal’ is just temporary. It’s a fleeting fashion. Like our New Year Resolutions, no company is going to stick to these changes. For starters, many organizations are too traditional and stuck in their old ways to sustain a changed way of working for long. At the same time, remote work has brought its own unique set of challenges that hamper productivity and work-life balance!
People Consider their Office Space as a Sanctuary
Many people can’t wait to get back to their 9 to 5, 5 days a week work schedule at the office. One can’t overlook the fact the millions of people consider their workplace as a sanctuary. They need the office, often to get away from their ‘home.’ According to an article by BBC, the pandemic saw an increase in the number of splits, divorces, and breakups because of people being cooped up together for long periods of time. Going to the office gave everyone some breathing space from their family. Remote work and the lockdowns combined increased tensions and many people ended up getting on each other’s nerves.
Not Every Organization Has the Capability to Support Remote Work
Twitter announced that their employees would be allowed to work from home indefinitely, even after the shutdown ends. Many people believed other companies will quickly follow suit. But in reality, not all companies are ready for this transition. The industry an organization belongs to matters. Tech giants like Google, Microsoft, Facebook can make it happen. They not only have the resources, but they are also from an industry that can seamlessly shift to a work from home setting. But for many, especially for industries like health care, manufacturing, and retail, working from home has never really been possible.
Employees May Not Have the Right Job or Resources
In the case of employees, their ability to work from home is highly dependent on the line of work they are in and the resources they can afford. Maybe employees with occupations like management, business, and financial operations can manage to switch to remote work. But what about service, installation, transport, or production workers? Also, not all employees have or are compensated for provisions like a stable internet connection, adequate electricity, or enough room for a separate workspace.
Remote Work Has its Own Disadvantages
Besides these issues, companies need to keep in mind the various disadvantages remote work has before making the shift. The fatigue one feels from constant zoom meetings, the blurred lines between work and personal life, the lack of human connection or effective collaboration are just a couple of pitfalls many have faced during these past few months of the pandemic.
So, what have you planned for your organization? Is remote work here to stay with you? Have you considered the advantages and disadvantages of remote work for your organization? Both sides of this argument need to be weighed seriously before taking any action. Stay tuned for part 2 to understand the advantages of remote work.