Working from home was a practice that was not as common or noticeable before the COVID-19 pandemic. Isolation forced all of us to adapt quickly and find what our new normal looks like, but that hasn’t been easy. However, out of all the ways we’ve adapted, working from home and out of the office has real potential to integrate into our society post-pandemic.
Many jobs that transitioned to remote require access to a computer. The expansion and sustenance of remote work allowed workers to work in a comfortable environment and not be so confined to a single work environment. Work became integrated into daily life instead of one’s life being structured around work. Preliminary studies have shown that sustaining remote work can increase productivity. In addition, because workers are not bound to the office or their supervisor’s watchful eye, they have more freedom and autonomy in how they want to fulfill their jobs.
The ability to work from home allowed workers to not feel trapped in an environment where for eight hours you’re dedicated to working away. The autonomy I am speaking of is that employees aren’t necessarily feeling pressured to perform 100 percent for their jobs under their supervisor’s nose all the time. Workers get to choose the kind of environment that works best for them rather than being forced to be productive in a space that’s not necessarily preferable. It offers flexibility for workers and makes working more enjoyable.
Happy workers are not only beneficial for workers themselves, but also for companies. According to Vox, a recent Harvard Business Review study of United States Patent and Trade Office workers found that employee output increased by 4.4 percent. Productivity also increases from remote work, according to an Owl Labs study, because there aren’t as many distractions, like coffee breaks and talking to coworkers.
A typical 9-5 is a majority of the day, and it makes it hard for people to do other things and tasks that they need if they are stuck in an office the whole time. It is often misconstrued that being in the office is more productive because it implies that you’re working for the full time you are clocked in. However, this isn’t necessarily true. Being constrained to working in an office for eight hours a day does not allow those downtimes to be put into use. Remote work allows employees to be more thoughtful about their schedules as they’re managing their own time.
Of course, face-to-face connection and interactions are important — a considerable downside to remote work. Some people may not like integrating a relaxing space with a workspace. However, it is statistically undeniable that remote work is a great thing for a new working culture. Apollo Technical cites that working remotely can increase productivity by up to 77 percent and performance by 13 percent. Seeing that remote work does prioritize workers, and the result is positive for businesses as well — I don’t see why remote work can’t or shouldn’t stay.