“Offices are a thing of the past!” It’s a phrase I’m hearing again and again as I make my daily Zoom and Skype calls. It’s clear, many people are keen to explore ways they can continue homeworking following the COVID-19 pandemic. However, is this just blue-sky thinking? Or has the pandemic enabled us to make a breakthrough in remote-working?
The pandemic has caused worldwide disruption and upheaval. Many countries have set lockdown measures to slow and prevent the spread of the virus. As a society, we’ve had to think on our feet and quickly adapt to the situation. This has enabled innovation and creativity to boom as we find new ways to solve the challenges of isolation.
Just like many freelancers and business owners, we’re no strangers to remote-working. Most people begin their self-employment journey from home. On the other hand, we had recently transitioned to a dedicated studio space. This had benefits such as being a base for collaboration and nurturing teamwork. Yet, we were now having to return to our slippers at home once more. It’s a complete circle. After experiencing both ways of working, we can share the pros and cons of home working, especially as we emerge into this post-pandemic world.
Pro: Ditch the commute
Previously, the commute was 20-30 minutes to and from work each day. Now, I’ve reduced that to 60-seconds. Instead of being trapped in a car, train or bus, we can put that time to good use. For example, I’ve been able to introduce more walking into my day. This helps me take a break from the computer and gain some fresh air. The fresh air helps us to gather our thoughts and clear our minds. A much healthier swap! Not only for us but the planet too. Goodbye transport
Con: Lack of professional meeting setting
Yet, I do miss the professional base to physically meet others. Whilst working from home, you may not feel comfortable inviting customers or clients into your home. It breaks the work-life boundaries and can almost feel like an invasion of privacy. It throws more complications into the mix when deciding on where to host your meeting. Do you select your local coffee shop or have a virtual call? This can be problematic when working with larger teams, on complex projects.
Pro: You control the distractions
On the other hand, you can control more distractions at home. After all, it would be rude to tell your colleague to “zip-it” whilst you take a call. If you need time away from emails, you can do so. If you’re ready for your daily stroll around the block, you can take it. If you’d like to play your personalised playlist, go for it. Your home is your space and you can tailor it to suit your personal needs.
Con: Family intrusions
However, you do have to handle family intrusions. Now, your team may feel like angels in comparison. Children and partners may need your support and you may need theirs. Family is about commitment and dependability, so of course, you want to be there from! Family is important and it can be challenging to balance your work with their needs. If you can, try and set and communicate boundaries for your workday. Let your household know when you will be taking calls and require focused time to strike the right balance.
Overall, remote-working has proven itself to employers across the land. Teams will be expecting flexibility as lockdown restrictions ease. The virtual collaboration we have recently experienced is due to the advancements we’ve made in technology. As a society, we will continue to adapt and innovate. “Homeworking” will be normalised, yet nothing can quite replace the comradery of a shared team space. Let’s strike a balance!