Although many businesses have been doing it for some time now as a consequence of the pandemic, the years to come will see plenty of debate over the value of working from home. Some businesses have already made a decision on the future of telecommuting, one way or the other. In the middle, there will be some businesses that aren’t sure yet. However, there are more benefits to working from home than a lot of people realize – and a look at the following side benefits might be enough to convince some employers to keep WFH even when it’s no longer a necessity…
A crowded office is a noisy office
Many of the arguments offered in favor of the return to working in offices hinge around the workplace being a vibrant place where people talk, smile and laugh. Not only does this paint a depressing picture of most homes, but it also ignores the synonyms for “vibrant” that aren’t quite so flattering: for example, “noisy”. If you’ve ever been on a work call, pressing a headset or handset against one ear while trying to shut out noise with the other, you’ll know how hard it can be to work when dozens of people are talking at the same time. Working from home is better for hearing health, as well as productivity and stress management.
Office politics and cliques can be toxic
While work would be a less thrilling experience without your workmates, moving people out of the office does make it much harder for cliques and silos of employees to form. Office politics can be destructive in a workplace, and more introverted employees can end up shrinking into themselves. Working from home doesn’t need to mean an end to social aspects – online and offline events can still be planned, your Secret Santa plans can go through Elfster rather than being picked out of a hat, and a WhatsApp group can still see the best of office banter preserved. The last few decades have shown us that the internet can bring people together more than drive them apart.
It’s not just Covid that can be passed on
The idea behind WFH for most businesses in the last year has been that by keeping employees from coming to the office, transmission rates are kept down. So, people might argue, once Covid is a thing of the past (or relatively so), there’s no reason for people to stay home. However, think back to the colds you’ve had in recent years. Were they the result of working alongside someone infected? Probably. If you’re showing symptoms but still feeling healthy enough to work, it should be possible to work without commuting in and potentially infecting dozens of people who might end up feeling a lot worse than you do.
When placed alongside the financial benefits of decentralized working to both the business and the employee, the above examples show that there is a lot to think about before considering a return to the office.
P.S. Working from home means more time for adventures!