The debate on if people should be allowed to work from home is not a new one. It has been raging for as long as the internet has been around. Before then it made sense that we needed to be in the office to work. But modern technology has essentially created a completely digital world. And with it, we can do everything needed of us without ever leaving our homes.
But then the pandemic happened and changed everything. Suddenly the argument of working from home wasn’t theoretical anymore. Working from home became, for many, the only way they could work. The only way they were allowed to work.
The world is slowly returning to normal now. And the argument about working from home is ramping up again in full force. Some employees are pushing to go back to the office. Others want to continue working from home. But is this what the new normal should be?
The Argument For
The biggest argument against working from home, before the pandemic, was that productivity would go down when workers had no one to supervise them. But research has shown that during the pandemic productivity actually went up, not down, when people were working from home.
The reasons behind this is that staff were far more motivated when they weren’t having someone looking over their shoulder. Alongside being in an environment they were familiar with and cutting out commute time raised happiness levels and thus productivity.
So the argument that being in the office is more productive has quickly been disproven. And many people argue that, once the world is fully back to normal, productivity will only increase further if staff is allowed to work from home.
Some of the biggest advocates for working from home were always members of the disabled community. Those who struggled to get into office spaces with ease. Working from home provided opportunities for these staff to be on even playing fields. Some companies even paid to install wheelchair ramps for homes of their staff that needed them.
The Argument Against
But not everything about working from home is positive. And for many people working from home has actually been quite a difficult experience. A big part of office life, for many people, is the sense of community and socialization that comes with it. For many, working from home has made them less productive as the loss of social contact has demotivated them and is causing a lot of mental health issues.
Another key argument against is the infrastructure isn’t as effective in some areas when utilizing an online environment. Important meetings are far more effective in-person and devoid of technical issues such as internet cutting off or technology not working. And while online work platforms such as Microsoft teams and Zoom are fantastic tools, they aren’t without fault.
Should It Become the New Normal
The big takeaway we have found from the pandemic is that most of the arguments against working from home were entirely baseless. They were relatively unprovable because no company would ever authorize it. But once forced, the stats soon rolled in.
So should it become the new normal? In our opinion, yes it should. But not entirely in the way it was during the lockdown. We think it should be a mixed system. Some days in the office. Others online. This will allow businesses to have meetings in person and let staff socialize again while allowing those who work better from home to do so.