Working from home is not everybody’s cup of tea, so if you find yourself missing going into the office, the good news is that you are not alone.
Not everyone is adjusting well to remote working, it’s not just about productivity, but also about happiness. However, having said that, research shows that there is a significant number of workers who are really enjoying the new regime.
Businesses, landlords and governments around the world are trying to figure out the future of offices. Covid-19 led companies of all kinds to embrace digital transformation quicker than any CEO or CTO would ever have previously imagined or planned. It’s thanks to the rapid adoption of remote working that companies managed to achieve continuity and progression even in the toughest times.
However, big questions still remain: Is this the end of the office? Has productivity gone up or down? And, how do workers really feel about working from home (not just ‘so far’ but also also ‘in the long-term’)?
As often, there are no ‘one size fits all’ answers. Google and Facebook have extended working from home as standard until summer 2021, whilst Twitter and Fujitsu are planning permanent adoption of the policy. But it’s not the same story for everyone; Netflix’s boss, Reed Hastings has said that working from home has negative effects and had made debating ideas harder. So, if the CEOs of big companies can’t decide what’s best it’s only normal that you and your colleagues are divided as well.
Employers who are considering the long-term potential of remote working arrangements should take care to consider the types of personalities and home settings of their employees.
Those more likely to who struggle with working from home arrangements include:
1) Extroverts who thrive on personal interactions
An extrovert character thrives when surrounded by people. They need personal interaction in order to be productive and creative. They need to be part of groups of people and socialising is very important to them. They get inspired by conversing and talking; they are the ones that come up with the best ideas while chatting in an office corridor.
2) Those who value routines
We all love a change of scenery but for some people routine is crucial in order to function. They need to get up in the morning, get dressed and go to an office, where they ‘disconnect’ from their home life. They need to get out of their house and go to a specific working place in order to concentrate, focus and be productive.
3) Makeshift home-office squatters
Not everyone has an adequate set up in their homes. It’s not always easy to have a spare room that can be your home office or a reliable broadband that allows you to work efficiently. Moreover, family can happen: kids, a partner that also struggles to work from home; all these distractions can affect your performance and increase your stress levels.
Of course, despite all the above scenarios, and those for whom working from home might be a struggle, for others the last few months have seemed like a godsend.
Those who are likely to thrive on long-term working from home opportunities include:
1) Introverts who draw energy from quiet space
The opposite of an extrovert; introverts do better in a working-from-home environment. They thrive when they don’t have to socialise or be distracted from conversation and human interactions. They prefer a quiet working place where they can carry on with their tasks in solitude.
2) Those with dedicated, well-kitted-out office space
If you have a place at home, that can become your office area; if you have the right tools such as a desk and a chair; a fast broadband connection and good lighting – then you can instantly feel more productive. Having the right set up is crucial not only to productivity, but also to efficiency.
3) Individuals with strong personal boundaries
People that can set up boundaries find it easier to navigate the transition from working life to personal life, when it comes to working from home. Putting up boundaries like not checking emails after what would be your working hours is very important. Just because your working laptop is right in front of you or your work email notifications light up on your phone screen – doesn’t mean that you have to answer or check; and this is a simple example of how to distinguish your working hours from your resting and recharging hours.
4) Flexibility-lovers (including those with good reason)
If you hate commuting, love working in tracksuits and don't mind being bare foot at all times, working from home will work for you. You can go for a run during your break, get laundry done whenever you fancy and cook whatever you want for lunch. Flexibility isn’t just for enjoyment, though: working from home often improves employees’ abilities to look after children, volunteer for charity and generally spend their non-commuting time on other worthy causes.
In every crisis lies an opportunity. Whether this is the end of the office or not, only time will tell. In the meantime, what we learnt is that working from home can be this pandemic’s silver lining. We learnt that not every professional thrives under the same conditions and what we thought as unthinkable two years ago, can and does work now.
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