Global COVID-19 Work-From-Home Experiment May Change Work Environment for Good

The COVID-19 pandemic has triggered the world’s largest work-from-home experiment, and no one was ever prepared for it. A few short months ago, companies from all over the world urged employees to move to their office at home in an attempt to stop the virus from spreading.

If the world has learned something from what history continuously revealed, it is that significant world events have the potential to change everything around us. Just think of the impact the 9/11 event had on airport security, or how massive Facebook data breaches sparked massive changes in the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

While some companies are slowly starting to return employees to their brick-and-mortar offices, hundreds of start-ups have no intention of kissing remote work goodbye. Could this mean the world is witnessing a work-from-home revolution? Will remote working become the norm instead of the exception? Only time will tell for sure. However, a change this significant does bring on some new challenges for both employees and employers.

work-from-home. photo by andrea piacquadio from pexels
Work from home. Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

What’s Missing and What’s Working?

Working remotely can be both a blessing and a curse. There are the goods, such as spending more time with the family, having more flexibility to make your own schedule and not having to spend hours commuting. But there are also the bads, such as not being able to collaborate closely with colleagues, lack of boundaries when it comes to balancing life and work, and limited work capacity.

For those who have no trouble with time management, working from home has been a dream come true. Being able to take control of their schedule and find creative ways to split their time between work and fun is something they have been expecting for quite some time. However, those that have less success in finding this healthy balance may struggle to set boundaries and separate their business life from family life.

Another issue both employers and employees have faced during lockdown is getting access to the technology they need to continue working at full capacity. For those who only need a computer to do their job, that has not been a huge problem, but for employers with bigger hardware needs, transforming half of a living room into an office becomes challenging.

Is Working From Home More Productive Than in Office?

Productivity has been an ongoing issue with working remote, especially in current conditions, when it is very likely that all members of the family are at home simultaneously. However, contrary to what many employers believe, most of them reported no signs of productivity decrease. In some cases, they even stated productivity has actually improved since their employees started working remote.

Employees state they have actually worked more hours than normal when at home, which could be because it is much easier to work overtime from the comfort of their own living room rather than staying in the office.

Such results prompted many employers, especially young start-ups, to actually agree to adopt a more flexible work-from-home policy.

For those struggling to get productive at home, there are plenty of ways to change this, such as:

  • Developing a schedule and sticking to it
  • Clearly separating work and family
  • Scheduling and taking regular breaks to relax
  • Avoid working from the sofa or bed

One of the top complaints when working remote has been the fact that it becomes increasingly difficult to leave work at the door when going to sleep at night. Many employees say they have been working late at night and getting very little sleep. One solution that helps support healthy sleep cycles is CBD oil. This product has become very popular in recent years, as it can help support a sense of calm and focus and management of everyday stress and health. This has prompted people to start searching for the best CBD oil on the market.

Do People Feel Comfortable Going Back to Work?

When asked how soon they would be comfortable to go back to work, many employees have suggested 3-6 months from now would be the most viable answer. This could be because, hopefully, 6 months from now, there will be a better-painted picture allowing understanding of exactly how this virus is evolving.

Even if they were to come back to work, many people want their employers to allow them to work from home for at least 2 days a week. Many believe a healthy office-remote balance is how the future of the work environment will look.

In a recent survey conducted by a non-profit established in the UK, 81.4% of respondents would like to have the option to choose between working from home and working remote and 50.3% would like to work from home for at least 3 days a week.

Large Corporations Extend Work-From-Home Policies

Because it is in their duty to set an example, big corporations have jumped fast to update their work-from-home policies and accommodate employees to work remotely.

Amazon announced this month that they will extend their work-from-home policy for corporate employees to January 8th, 2021. Their decision aims to protect the physical and mental health of employees, as well as respect government guidance. While many of their warehouse employees were asked to come back to work on May 1st, those who wanted to remain home out of fear for their wellbeing were allowed to do so. Companies such as Fujitsu, Twitter, and Google have also extended working from home policies.

Besides allowing employees to work from home for as much as they needed, Apple went on to create a fun, engaging, and smart video ad. In this ad, their Underdogs team, which is present in most of Apple’s recent videos, show how fun, challenging, and fulfilling working from home can be. Each member of the Underdogs team has challenges to face when working remotely, such as David, one of the guys, being a single dad, but they do manage to get things done in their own quirky ways.