July 14, 2020
- Certainly, many people enjoy the company of their coworkers.
- However, the majority of studies on productivity at home versus productivity in the office find that working from home does give one an edge.
- Remote work is one of those rare situations that can benefit everyone from the individual, to the business, to the country as a whole.
Many office workers have been working from home for the past several months. Even before the coronavirus outbreak, there were some companies that allowed, or encouraged some or all employees to work from home at least some of the time. However, as we all know, being allowed and being forced, are two different things.
Certainly, many people enjoy the company of their coworkers. The feeling of community, the ability to exchange thoughts on an idea without so much as the click of a button. The free coffee and snacks. Many, especially those with small children, or children who are also at home due to the pandemic, report having some issues finding the peace needed to focus properly on their work, which is certainly understandable.
However, the majority of studies on productivity at home versus productivity in the office find that working from home does give one an edge. Of course, there is a difference between working remotely in planned circumstances, and doing so in reaction to COVID-19. Employees who were accustomed to working from home pre-coronavirus almost certainly experienced a smoother transition. They would have also, until recently, been able to send their school-age children to school, which allows both an atmosphere more conducive to work, and the freedom from managing the remote learning schedules of children. These are challenges that can be worked with. They are challenges that have been dealt with successfully by many parents, even before COVID-19.
Another plus to consider is the time saved by employees who don’t have a commute. Whether said commute is twenty minutes or two hours, that is time that can be spent more productively, or pleasurably, when transporting oneself to the office is taken out of the picture.
Some companies have been cautiously allowing staff back into the office. However, others, such as Google have postponed plans to do so. It seems well worth considering taking these plans off the table entirely for the foreseeable future. With the benefits of greater safety, higher productivity, and additional free time for employees, it would be nonsensical not to at least discuss making these changes permanent or semi-permanent.
While the decision to make such changes long-term would, in many cases, require some retooling, the benefits to employees, companies, and society could be significant. Those companies that are in a position to have all or most employees work remotely, would also be able to consider cutting overhead costs, such as office space.
Not all businesses are able to allow employees to work from home. They must put their workers at greater risk due to the nature of their businesses. But we must consider the good of the whole. Remote work is one of those rare situations that can benefit everyone from the individual, to the business, to the country as a whole. Done properly, it is a win for all. And we need wins.