Will Working from Home Become the New Normal?
If 2020 has shown us anything, it’s that office work may be obsolete. Why spend every morning commuting to your workplace if you can just turn on your laptop and do the same tasks from your living room?
And employers are starting to see the benefits of working from home too. After all, remote workers use their electricity, water, broadband — the employer doesn’t have to provide anything. On top of that, there’s no need to rent an office space, which significantly reduces expenses.
So, now that we know remote work is viable, will it become the new norm? Well, many industries will fully accept it or at least partly incorporate it. Still, we don’t expect it to entirely replace the traditional workplace. And here is exactly why:
Lack of Collaboration
Obviously, collaborative work is still possible to do even remotely. There are so many programs and apps that enable it — from Zoom and Microsoft Teams to Slack and Discord. All these apps allow meetings and screen sharing and have dozens of features that help collaborations run smoothly.
Still, no matter how good an app may be, it can’t replace face-to-face communication in all situations. The exchange of ideas is much quicker and smoother when you talk to someone in person, after all. Even video chats can’t quite measure up — there’s always a possibility that technical issues will get in the way.
Theoretically, remote work should increase workers’ productivity levels. After all, they work alone from home, with no office chatter to distract them and no need to waste time commuting. But in practice, it seems that many employees feel less productive in their own homes.
And why is that, you may ask? Well, primarily, it’s because the line between personal and professional life is blurred. You’re at home, in your private space, so your mind isn’t 100% focused on the work at hand. And if you have children, pets, or other family members, they can be distracting even if you tell them not to disturb you while you work.
Some Jobs Can’t Be Done Remotely
And finally, you can’t expect everyone to do their jobs remotely. If you work in the hospitality industry, transportation, or retail, you need direct contact with your clients. For these kinds of professions and trades, sitting at home with your laptop simply isn’t enough.
Working from home is by no means a new concept, but it’s never been quite as widespread as it is now. And we don’t doubt that many people will work remotely even long after the pandemic ends. Still, office work won’t disappear entirely — it may change in some ways, but it’s here to stay.