As the global pandemic slowly resides, the debate among workers remains: is in-person work or remote work better? We explore both sides of this argument and throw in a new hybrid model that could potentially be the next post-pandemic working trend.
It’s been 18 months since the COVID-19 pandemic has turned the world upside down. Since then, many changes to our daily lives have been made, and that includes the new work life we’ve had to adapt to. Most companies have opted to have their employees work from home in order to stay safe, but now that vaccines are being rolled out and herd immunity is on the horizon, the post-pandemic life seems to be coming in the near future.
That said, there’s currently a divide between companies who want their employees to return to office life, continue working from home, or adapt an experimental hybrid of both, and we’ll be weighing all of these options for whichever post-pandemic workplace you’ll have to face.
Returning to office life
A lot of companies are considering going back to the traditional workplace, and some employees might just be all for it.
Going back to the office means being able to bond with your colleagues and work friends again instead of staying cooped up at home, stressing over work by yourself. It also means face-to-face meetings that make conversations flow easier without having to worry about non-verbal cues or Zoom fatigue or bad internet connection. Any issues you might have with your work desktop, the WiFi, or technology in general can easily go through troubleshooting with your office’s resident IT experts, now readily at your service. And the most important change of all-- you can finally focus on work and look forward to physically signing out and not bringing your work home with you.
Still, office life poses its own challenges, too. Working at the office might mean you’ll have to be stuck in uncomfortable office chairs that are much less comfortable than your couch or bed. It also means spending on things you haven’t spent on in a while too, such as bus fare or gas or lunches. You’ll also have to go back to waking up hours before work to get ready, and worse-- to swap your work-from-home uniform of pajamas for actual office clothes.
If you’re one to ask yourself reluctantly,“When will I have to return to the office?”, maybe the work from home set up is a better fit for you.
Work from home
The switch from office life to remote work that happened for many of us workers in the middle of last year was a daunting change, but most of us have embraced it now a year down the line.
One of the benefits of working from home is saving up on certain costs, such as commute fare, gas, and meals while at work. Plenty of time is also saved from the commute or drive to work, and you don’t even have to get up from bed hours in advance to prepare. You also get to work in the familiarity of your own home, where everything is readily available for your comfort. Even in job opportunities, remote work has opened the possibilities up to working for companies all over the globe, and in your own time.
However, despite all these pros, it’s not always a bed of roses. Many have experienced severe work and leisure imbalance due to work always being within reach, finding it difficult to separate work time from off hours. Because of this, work burnout has become more common. Disruptions such as family and house chores also pose a challenge to one’s focus, with productivity suffering the consequences. And that doesn’t even include the cluelessness many workers feel when they have to troubleshoot their own tech problems.
Weighing these two options and all their pros and cons, an inevitable question employees might ask is: “Why can’t we have it all?”
A balance of both seems like the most sensible way to go, and it’s a good thing companies are now looking into adapting a new hybrid model work style that compromises between remote work and office life.
This hybrid model explores the post-pandemic workplace as a mix of both working at home and in the office, with the option offered back to the workers. As WeWork puts it, “In a typical hybrid workplace, some or all employees have the freedom to choose where and when they work, dividing their time between working from home and working from a central office.”
According to JLL’s Human Experience survey that interviewed over 2,000 global workers, 66% employees expect this new model. And really, this might just seem like the best course of action for companies in the post-pandemic world. Most people just want the option, especially working mothers who juggle their time between being career women and nurturing figures. Moreover, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all system that will make all the employees happy, so giving them the option to choose between working from home or at the office is the best way to go about it.
Now, looking at all this info laid out, which do you prefer? Are you willing to go back to the office? Is it too late and are you sold on remote work? Or are you crossing your fingers for your company to adapt the new and promising hybrid model?
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half the sky (HTS) is a career platform for women connecting you to career opportunities at companies that care. Providing you with information, tips and strategies to navigate the rapidly changing workplace.