Should we work from home permanently?

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Shot of a young woman using a laptop while working from home

// The virus forced much of the country to work from home… should we do this all the time?

With many Victorians still working from home as they deal with their second wave, research has shown that most people enjoy the benefits of working from home.

What are the benefits?

At the first peak of the pandemic, 46 per cent of Australians were working from home. Award-winning Australian urban planner RobertsDay recently surveyed 1,000 Australian employees who have been working from home – full-time or part-time –  to gauge their most enjoyable remote working experiences.

72% of respondents stated that they enjoyed not having to commute to work everyday, which gave them more time during the day. On average, Australians spend four and a half hours commuting to work every week.

The commute. Not fun. (Source: ABC)

If we can work from home permanently, the survey found that we’d also value saving money on car maintenance and other expenses.

The survey also revealed that work-life balance was the second-most enjoyable aspect of working from home for 61% of respondents, with 57% liking not having to dress especially for work, while 36% of respondents enjoyed having fewer distractions in their home office environments as it enabled them to be more productive.

Older employees tended to enjoy working from home for this reason: 44% of over-50s cited they had less distractions and felt more productive when working from home, compared with 28% of younger employees (under-30s).

Working remotely, dressed from the top up (Source: IT Brief)

When asked why else they enjoyed working remotely, 33% of respondents revealed it was being able to see more of their kids or other family members, 32% admitted it was nice not being micro-managed, and 26% said it was because they had fewer meetings, and were, therefore, more productive.

What’s the catch?

Like most things though, there are some drawbacks.

A glaring issue with everyone working from home is having your team all in different locations. While it’s easy to set up team meetings using Zoom and direct messaging your colleagues, it may not fully replace having your team in one place to talk and collaborate with.

While working at home may provide less distractions to some, it can prove the opposite for others. When you’re at work, there’s not a whole lot to be doing other than work and talking to your colleagues. At home, there’s a whole array of things to distract you: TV, family, games, pets, neighbours…

What’s this key do Dad? (Source: Small Business Bonfire)

Overall, there seems to be no reason not to work from home in some cases, for some of the time. Essential care givers and others need to be in the field, with people, assisting of course. But many of us can probably blend office and home from now on, and may very well do so. Somehow, it feels like the world has changed.

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Main image source: Science Mag