The coronavirus pandemic shifted how we understand “normal” in so many ways, not the least of which is our relationship to jobs and work expectations. The necessity of working from home in a pandemic has led many employees to reassess their values and the role they want work to play in their lives going forward. Many now ask if work-from-home is here to stay.
Benefits of Working From Home
For many people who started working from home for the first time due to the pandemic, the benefits of the setup quickly became clear. Maybe it’s no surprise, then, that more than half of employees said in a Pew Research Center survey that they would want to continue working from home even once the coronavirus pandemic dissipates.
From more time with family to increased productivity, working from home can offer a serious boost. Overall, working from home can increase flexibility, leading to satisfaction with the arrangement — and a desire to keep it going. Let’s look at some top WFH perks.
More Time With Family
Working parents often tout work-from-home arrangements for allowing more quality family time. Without the need for long commutes or late hours on-site at the workplace, families get to spend more time together. Calm family breakfasts without rushing off to work and low-key dinners with every member of the family around can have a positive impact on family dynamics. At the same time, parents can dedicate more time to establishing bedtime routines and take short breaks with the kids if everyone is home at the same time.
Employees Can Live, and Work, Anywhere
Do you want to spend a long weekend with family members who live far away without taking time off from work? Many companies are offering flexible arrangements that make it easier for employees to live and work wherever it works for them. Families can find a setup that makes sense for every member of the family, making a home in a location that fosters happiness for everyone.
No Need To Commute
Commuting to work can put a big drain on anyone’s schedule. In 2019, the average commute for American workers soared to over 27 minutes — and that statistic is for only one way. So much time spent getting to work translates to less time with family, less time doing things you love, and an overall tiring experience. But working from home removes the need to commute entirely. Workers can just sign on and begin working the moment they’re ready to start, without losing time in the day to a long commute.
More Time for Better Sleep
Less time commuting also leads to more time for personal pursuits, not to mention more time to sleep. Employees don’t need to get up as early to get to work on time if they’re working from home. The flexible arrangement can even translate to less stress and better sleep, helping workers feel more balanced and happier overall. Getting to bed at a good time while feeling relaxed and then waking up refreshed to start the day can go a long way in creating a positive work-life balance.
The above benefits may even lead to increased productivity. Employees who are better-rested thanks to less commute time and more sleep can focus on the tasks at hand, producing better work. Employees who are more satisfied thanks to more quality family time and living in a place they love can also focus more on their job. At the same time, working from home means workers can’t get distracted by chats with co-workers and the difficulties of syncing in-the-office schedules.
Disadvantages of Working From Home
For some employees, however, working from home isn’t such a clear-cut choice. Along with the benefits of a flexible work arrangement come some drawbacks in certain cases. Having the whole family in one space during the workday can present its own unique challenge, while the blurred line between time at work and time at home can force some to feel like they need to work constantly. While working from home leads to increased productivity overall, that’s not to say some employees don’t face difficulties.
A Decrease in Productivity
Employees who have to grapple with at-home responsibilities might find their productivity dipping when they can’t get into a dedicated office. Balancing caretaking with working can feel like a struggle. It’s not always possible to deal with kids’ remote instruction needs, other family care obligations, and work deadlines simultaneously, and competing priorities can sometimes bring down productivity instead of increasing it. For some, the ability to get into the workplace offers a welcome dividing line between home and work.
Without the built-in constraints of having a dedicated workspace, some employees have found themselves working longer hours. It can feel harder to simply sign off from work when working from home. If there’s always something that needs to get done, some employees may struggle with a more flexible arrangement.
Cultivating Relationships Becomes Difficult
When employees are never in the same physical space as each other, cultivating strong relationships can also become difficult. This can be especially challenging for younger employees and those just starting out in their field. Without access to mentors and colleagues, new employees can struggle to find their footing and make progress in their careers.
Working From Home Isn’t Equal Across Industries
Not all workplaces are allowing employees to continue to work from home. In some spaces such as hospitals and supermarkets, working from home simply isn’t an option. Some industries are also resistant to work-from-home setups, even when online work is completely possible. While working from home still is viable for some jobs and employees and may lead to a boost in productivity that employers value, other jobs and employees may not be offered the choice. That wraps up Crème de la Crème’s look at the work-from-home landscape. How do you feel about working from home? Do you have tips to help other families balance working at home with family needs? Drop us a line so we can share it!