WFH? WTF?

Whilst many of us are lucky to be working, a vast majority of us are working from our kitchen, spare bedroom, makeshift office spaces. COVID-19 rocked the world in many ways we could not comprehend, we were introduced to some new ways of living. One of the biggest changes was where people worked, the whole office environment disappeared in what was supposed to be a 3-week lockdown that then turned into a whole year. At this point looking forward to the end of the lockdown is what is keeping everyone sane. With an outpour in the intensity of technology provided such as zoom and Microsoft office working from home was made a lot easier.

However, working from home was not just introduced, as a matter of fact it has always been in history especially during the industrial revolution where skilled blacksmiths, tailors and workers from many fields worked from home. With the introductions of heavy machinery in the workplace, manpower was needed to help manoeuvre the machineries. In the new age remote working was allowed in marginal sectors for example, self-employed, web developers, some business sectors such as sales and marketing, call studies and therapists.

So, what does this mean for the office sector? Many people have felt like they will not be going back to the working environment after the lockdown has been lifted. Would you be going back to work after the lockdown? kindly let us know in the comment section. Flexibility can lead to productivity. A two year Stanford university study on 1000 employees working at the same company found that there was a 13% increase in productivity when their employees worked from home or had a choice in choosing their working environment.

Pros:

  • Flexibility of the working environment, many jobs today require a laptop, solid Wi-Fi connection and a mobile phone to work so you could take your work to your local Starbucks for the day. It doesn’t always have to be “home”. Or sit in your car (if you have one because I know I don’t), a good hotspot and your phone especially when the kids start going crazy.
  • Healthier mental health not having to drive or take public transport in this London would help many families save and take care of their families. Being more present in the family routine, many parents have had to work 5 days a week and only spending 4/5 hours every evening Monday to Friday and not building better relationships with their families missing out on the developmental stages in their children’s lives and some marriages and relationships end up broken. We also found children were better off when parents cared about work as a source of challenge, creativity, and enjoyment, again, without regard to the time spent. And, not surprisingly, we saw that children were better off when parents were able to be physically available to them.” (Stewart D Friedman for Harvard business review)
  • The ability to pace yourself creates less pressure and allows you to provide your best work. In most office-based settings many are faced with pressures to meet up to goals and sometimes comparisons to other colleagues lead to feeling of not matching up to what the company considers good standards, this does not mean you have to lack behind in meeting up to deadlines. However, working in an environment that you are comfortable with can lead to a higher level of productivity.

Cons:

  • More distractions, if you are like me then your relationship with Netflix might be stronger than the one you have with your family. I am easily distracted and as a matter of fact I have been trying to write this article for 3 days. I just can’t work from home, I can’t have my mum breaking my room door down like she works for the bailiffs asking me if I want rice. Being at home and having to work would not work for me (if you are just like me then you know what this means). We are constantly distracted by something whether it be our phones, club house rooms on how you can make a million in 10 minutes or plain old Netflix. Working from home can sometimes prove to be more distracting than we think.
  • Depending on the type of person you are you might prefer working from home, whilst many prefer the office environment some even enjoy the rush hour commute as they believe it helps them transition from personal life to work life (they clearly haven’t used the London underground central line on hot summers afternoon). Many enjoy leaving home because they want home to feel like home and work should feel like work. No in-betweens except the traffic and delayed trains, this helps create a decent work-life balance. Many just enjoy looking forward to Friday for work drinks.
  • Mental health has been the topic of discussion throughout the whole pandemic especially on social media. The rotation of routine feels like walking through a revolving door, as the control is not entirely in our hands. The lack of socialising, face to face/physical interactions and being restricted indoors can play a big factor in our mental state. The video calls are helpful to maintain work related communications however it can not replace the full dynamics of being surrounded by others and being in an atmosphere where you can network or grab coffee with another team member.
  • There are many organizations designated to help you talk to someone whenever you feel the pressure of work or having difficulties cultivating a positive attitude when working from home. some of the organisations are:
    • Celutions UK, @Celutionsuk on Instagram and Twitter, Celutionsuk.org
    • Mental Health Foundation, mentalhealth.org.uk
    • Mind, http://www.mind.org.uk
    • Mentalheathuk, Mentalhealth-uk.org

The working world is currently in a transition, and we are seeing many people adapt as time is going on. Working from home could be here to stay, and this would be a dream come true to the home buddies, but may require some time for others to adjust. Find ways to learn about your levels of production and create the necessary changes to make working from home, work for you.

By Michael Ogunleye

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