You can listen to the audio version of this article.
There are two types of people in the world: those who are loving the new remote work life and those who can’t stand it. Some of us fall in the middle a bit, but most of us have found we have a preference.
COVID-19 and the sudden changes required of it have brought about foundational changes moving forward. As a worker, you may have realised the years you spent toiling away on long commutes and being stuck in the office weren’t actually necessary. On the other hand, maybe you’ve found that you really crave having very separate facets of your life and miss the camaraderie of your colleagues.
Here are a few ways remote working has affected some people for the better:
You have more time
For most people, it feels like there’s never enough time. Maybe you’ve found that you can get ready a lot faster in the mornings since you only have to look professional from the chest up. Maybe you used to have a long commute, or you never really knew how long it would take you to get to work. Time is the most precious commodity we have and have more of it is always positive.
You thrive being your own boss
Maybe you’re not technically your own boss (or maybe you are!) but many people have more freedom when they work remotely. Perhaps you can work when you want and, of course, where you want. For those who do well with flexibility, perhaps you’ve found you can squeeze in a mid-day yoga session or jog that you couldn’t before. Having a little more control and flexibility is just what you needed.
You can spend more time with the family
If you’re in quarantine with family or friends, perhaps you’ve found that working remotely allows you to spend more time with them. On top of having more time (at home), some workers have been able to create ‘tap in/tap out’ approaches for childcare that actually works with their job.
You’re happier and more productive
Countless studies have shown that happiness and productivity go hand in hand. When remote work gives you more joy, that’s likely spilling over into your efforts, yielding better results.
You do more in less time
Working remotely may have given you the ‘power’ to actually achieve more in less time. This is especially helpful to those who aren’t ‘on the clock’ but rather need to perform a certain number of tasks per day. In some cases, workers might be making the same pay in fewer hours. Plus, you’re spending less since you’re not commuting.
However, it’s not all sunshine and rainbows for every remote worker. If you’re not cut out for virtual work, you may have found the following negative reactions:
- You’re procrastinating and not getting work done. If you’re the kind of person who thrives in a structured environment and feels held accountable based on in-person contact, remote work might not be for you. A lot of remote workers are feeling like they aren’t doing their best these days – and that’s because they aren’t.
- Vices are getting irresistible. In times of high stress and crises, it’s natural to look for ways to self-soothe. However, for those battling addiction, working from home can become dangerous. You have built-in controls at a physical job, but drinking or taking drugs and even an alcohol overdose can be more likely for those who work from home (and don’t want to).
- You’re starting to resent your housemates. Whether you live with family or friends, if you share your home with someone, you might be reaching your breaking point. Having time away from those you see regularly can be an important part of a healthy relationship. Work used to be that routine ‘escape’ and it can be tough when that is taken away.
- You’re working around the clock. This isn’t a risk just for workers during COVID but has been a struggle for telecommuters for a long time. When you’re not physically at work, it can be easy to fall into the trap of working 24/7. Setting boundaries is critical, but maybe you don’t think you can. After all, with unemployment rates so high you might feel grateful to have any kind of job at all. In some cases, workers may be taken advantage of.
- You no longer feel at peace at home. Your home is supposed to be an oasis, an escape from the drudgery that work can become. That might no longer feel like the case since home and work are one. Keeping a separate workspace that you don’t enter except during business hours can help with this.
There are ultimately pros and cons to working from home no matter how much you feel like you fall on the spectrum. Setting rules for yourself and others is the key to making it through Covid.
Dennis Relojo-Howell is the managing director of Psychreg.