Here at Obstacle Fitness, we do like to focus on fitness. On LinkedIn we occasionally share articles we see about the wellbeing industry or creating positive work cultures. They don't always result in their own blog post, but we couldn't help ourselves this time.
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, I remember seeing many articles debating the merits of employees working remotely versus in their employer's office. Generally, the argument from many employers was that face time in the office was important. Employees would respond by citing studies that suggested that employees were more productive when they were remote.
For many, COVID-19 forced this discussion into a real-life case study. Inc. magazine recently wrote an article about two recent studies found that companies are realizing the financial benefits of remote work. Employees, on the other hand, while happier in some aspects in their lives, are feeling burnt out with the constant working from home.
Employers might hone in on the "happier" aspect, but they're probably more appreciative of the fact that they're getting more work out of their employees for the same pay and that their employees are indeed more productive when they're isolated in their homes. (To be fair, I might have added the part that came after "productive".)
Yes, commutes have been cut. Yes, people are enjoying getting to spend more time with their family (though I'll speak for myself that the happiness I get out of this can be a day-to-day thing). But people are burnt out. They're burnt out because there is less of a line between the work day and the rest of the day. After all, if you don't have a commute, that means you get to start working that much earlier. And if you don't have to leave for a post-work activity, then you can keep working. People are burnt out because there are no boundaries. I have heard this anecdotally from several friends. And people are just plain burnt out on how COVID-19 has affected our lives in general.
I encourage you to read the Inc. article I cited above that discussed these studies and what's the best way to approach remote working moving forward. Ultimately, employees just want to be treated like adults who can get their work done and manage their time appropriately. If something comes up that an employee needs to deal with, s/he wants to work for a manager that is empathetic and understanding and trusts that they'll get their work done, and the tone of that needs to come from the top. It's not that complex. And yet, finding an employer that truly gets that and creates a genuine culture that supports that, is hard to find.
Many of these discussions are still premature because for many, there isn't yet a foreseeable end date to this situation. However, it would be unfortunate if when things settle down, companies focus on the benefits they realize from remote working rather than the benefits for their employees, but time will tell.
What's your ideal work situation? Have you enjoyed working from home? Do you want to go back to an office full time? Do you want a set amount of days at home? Or do you just want flexibility to work at home when needed?