Work From Home – Another Covid Induced Necessity, or Here to Stay?
When cases of Pneumonia and fever were reported in the Seafood and Poultry industry in Wuhan in China in December 2019, any talk about a globe-altering pandemic would have been treated with a sigh or a smile. But fast forward nearly two years, and we are still amongst a global pandemic that continues to make life difficult all around the world.
The first case in Belgium was reported nearby Brussels in February 2021, and ever since, much like the whole world, the country has undergone wave after wave of outbreaks and indeed lockdowns. Although much of it has subsided since the virus has drastically altered our lives and routines.
One of the changes that came with the virus has, however, sparked quite an interesting debate. Work From Home came into our lives, brought ease and chaos alike with it, and now, has sparked the question:
Do we go back to our workplaces or do we continue to work from our homes?
Surviving in Our Homes
Home is where we live, right? More than the structure, home is a space, a feeling to which we come to relax, recharge and find solace. But Covid locked us into our homes for indefinite amounts of time and it soon became our only space.
Whatever inhibitions our employers had about having their employees sitting at their homes and working had to be kept aside because of the pandemic. Within a matter of weeks, gadgets were distributed, home workstations were created, and voila! An entirely new culture had grown amongst us! Work From Home.
With it, we became all the more confined to our homes. Waking up and getting ready for the job gave way to getting up, grabbing a cup of coffee, and sitting down for work. From kindergarten to paradigm-shifting discussions and meetings, everything became virtual just like that. For many of us, it took us a while to get used to it but when we did, it is fair to say that the change has bought both welcoming and non- welcoming changes.
In terms of sheer output, there was a global spike initially with people finishing more work from the comfort of their homes. While this eventually leveled out, cases of mental health issues from work pressure and being cooped up have since come out. Even homes could become uncomfortable when we don’t get out of it enough and work from home showed how.
Here to Stay?
Once lockdowns began lifting and vaccinations became available, the world has opened up bit by bit. This has presented a new opportunity. To work from literally any corner of the world!
Remember those days when you had to apply for a leave two weeks prior to getting an early jump on your weekend? How about you travel to the place you were planning to go to, work from there, and then jump in on the fun for the weekend? No applying for leaves, no hassles, everyone is happy?
The opportunities such a culture has presented are immense. And perhaps that is why there is a huge resignation spree going around the US in a response to asking employees to report to their offices for work! A significant chunk of the working population seems to favor working from home and they wouldn’t be wrong in thinking so.
But aren’t stuff like work culture, getting to know your colleagues, and most importantly, that feeling of being part of an organization also important? What about all those people to whom work was their primary social interaction? We aren’t all blessed with social skills after all, are we? Or what about those janitors and security staff whose work depends upon us being there?
There is certainly a discussion to be had, isn’t there? What will be the outcome if indeed that happens? We will have to wait and see!