It is clear that remote and hybrid working both bring their advantages. In fact, we love it so much that many are now voting for it. A recent post on LinkedIn showed that many people would rather work from home with very few people wanting to go back to a full-time office.
Unfortunately, justifying why people should come to work is becoming harder for organisations. In fact, I would argue that without good incentives, workers have a stronger case for staying at home if looked at on a surface level.
Ofcourse, working from home allows for more flexibility. And this is great for workers who have families and wish to spend more time with them. For the most part, workers spend a lot of their time commuting and preparing themselves for work.
After a day of work, people need to get back home and get ready for the next day. If we include eating and spending time with their families, people rarely have time for themselves. And working from home gives us this ability.
Another benefit is its impact on global carbon emissions. Many workers are stating that working from home reduces their carbon footprint as they do not need to drive in. Not only does it reduce carbon emissions, but it also reduces their costs.
With rising prices in the economy, staying at home may be a great option for those who need to commute. Not to mention, it saves the time of having to get ready in the morning.
Finally, people who do go to work are getting frustrated. They go to the office and sit in online meetings all day with workers who have chosen to work from home. Unfortunately, this makes people feel as though there is no point going into the office unless everyone else is doing it. And with this type of thinking, no one will ever go in.
So, with all of these advantages, what is holding back companies from going to a hybrid model or fully remote?
Collaboration Is More Than Talking to Each Other
A study recently conducted during the COVID pandemic highlights some of the reasons why home working may be to our disadvantage. The study highlighted the effects of homeworking on information workers in Microsoft.
Interestingly enough, they concluded that homeworking led to difficulty in sharing new information. It also contributed to the problem of being able to register complex information and innovate.
Despite many workers desiring to work from home, many are open and honest to say that they feel less connected to their work. They also feel less productive.
Unfortunately, getting work done is not all we need to feel productive. We need an environment that supports our work and our desire to make a difference.
For many of us, that environment is not our bedroom or the kitchen table. It is a place where we are surrounded by like-minded individuals pursuing a common goal.
What is most interesting about this study is that it alludes to the fact that innovation could be negatively affected. Although they were not able to measure this, the difficulty to digest complex information led to this conclusion.
Despite the advancements in technology to support homeworking, it appears a simple conversation over coffee can not be replaced. And these simple things not only keep us together but are at the core of the next big ideas.
Collaboration appears to be more than just talking to one another. It is an environment and a culture. And this study shows us that how we communicate is just as important as what we communicate.
The Wider Implications of Homeworking
A lot of us enjoy the idea of working from home, but it does have implications. During COVID-19, many high street stores and restaurants closed down due to reduced demand.
The aerospace sector took a hit as all planes were grounded. Many people lost their desire to stay in shape, and many found eating takeaway a good alternative.
Staying at home is great for our comfort, but that is as far as it goes. Yes, we can pick up the children from school, spend more time with family and save our morning rush. However, as a model for the economy, a society where everyone stays at home will have negative effects.
We may not realise it, but the coffee we buy in the morning and swiping our cards to get to work has global implications. For the most part, it helps the world go around.
Our desire to work is innately human. Our desire to be part of a group is also human. Therefore, having a building where we can accomplish both is not too far off the ideal solution.
As technology has progressed, we have found advantages in working away from the office. However, knowledge has advanced too, and we are seeing better working environments every day.
Offices are now catching up to the research. There are now quiet rooms, faith rooms and collaborative rooms. People’s personal needs are now being met whilst they travel to work. Deciding to move to a home working model may have greater implications not just on our ability to innovate, but also to operate our economy.
For the most part, COVID-19 was terrible. However, it has opened up the conversation about what people want from their working environment.
Despite many people being frustrated, this is a good opportunity for us to understand the demands of employees. I have found taking time to think about what I want from my working environment to be fruitful. It has improved my working relationships and has given me a chance to implement better working habits.
So, what are your views on working from home?