The onset of the global pandemic of COVID-19 forced us to change the way we work, and how we see work in general. Suddenly, in a matter of days, online work became mandatory for everyone able to make the transition. It’s easy to see how much of a challenge this can be, especially for people less proficient with technology. Remote work is the necessary compromise between risking your employees’ health and risking the future of your business. It wasn’t a desirable outcome for many companies, but some saw it as just another challenge to overcome.
Working from home, just like every other type of work, by its nature suits some people more than others. To make this transition possible, people had to be flexible, adaptable, and most importantly, open-minded. Aside from following your daily routine of going to work each morning, now you have to set your hours yourself. You have to, in a way, be your own boss while still working together with other people, and depend on each other more than ever. Online services like Zoom, Skype, and Facetime among others, made this whole thing possible and saw a huge jump in traffic as a result.
Benefits and Risks of Remote Work
As things are now calming down, there are many new questions to consider regarding the state of the workplace. With so many people working from home, how will things pan out once the pandemic is over? While some companies adapted to this new situation, many others went under. But before contemplating what’s in store a few months from now, let’s review the benefits and risks of remote work itself.
Work from Anywhere
Remote work doesn’t necessarily mean working from home, although the current situation requires us to do so. This allows us the luxury of working on the move, at the place and time of our choosing. If you feel more comfortable working from a cafe or the local library, you are now free to do so. The major downside is that not every type of work can be done remotely. Even within the same company, some professions are more flexible in this regard and can take their work home easily.
However, this promotes unfairness and preferential treatment among employees. Even if someone is able to fully perform his duties at home, should they have that option when others can’t? Another huge problem is with the employees whose job suddenly requires them to use their computers on a daily basis. Teachers are the best example here, as they had to fully transition to online work, even those without the necessary skills of doing that. People with a technological disadvantage suffered the most during this period, and are still largely at risk.
Collaboration and Communication
Remote work requires active communication with your colleagues in order to be successful. Some people can perform their jobs alone even from home, but others have to rely on various online tools. Saving your documents in the cloud, accessing others’ schedules and files, and talking over Zoom or Skype is a part of the work routine for many people now.
Regardless of how you feel about these services, their usefulness and efficiency is obvious. The main question now is will we keep relying on these tools and methods once everything goes back to normal? The main issue of remote work is productivity, but if these methods prove successful, they might become the norm of everyday work.
Flexibility and Time Management
This is one area where remote work shows clear advantages over the regular kind. It allowed some companies to discard rigid and inefficient practices in favour of a more flexible work environment. But in order for online work to function, the entire company culture can require change. It requires a different perspective on how to organise people and events, which takes practice.
Even if people work fewer hours, they might achieve more because of a more fruitful environment. If you can finish your work in 4 hours, there’s no need to stay at work for another 5 unproductive hours. Long work hours drain people and reduce their efficiency while also causing stress and even depression.
Balance Between Work and Personal Life
Many people in the world are struggling to maintain a healthy relationship between their personal lives. This type of work will allow some workers to spend more time with their loved ones (children, spouses, and parents). Probably, after this crisis, some companies will evaluate how to reconcile work and personal life for the benefit of their employees. For example, young mothers may find it easier to take their work back home and still remain productive to some degree.
However, this can also prove counterproductive. Some people might start bringing more and more work back home, now that the systems are in place, which can further damage their personal lives. It’s also an area that can be easily exploited. Since remote work can continue at home, some bosses might start pressuring employees into doing more work, to the detriment of their personal lives.
Savings in travel and other expenses
From the worker’s point of view, home as an office reduces the costs of commuting down to zero. For some people, this can be a huge deal if they waste hours commuting every day. Working from home is infinitely more cost-effective, as you’re saving both time and money. It can also be en enormous benefit for companies who would save in utility costs like electricity, water, and internet bills, along with the cost of renting an office.
Many people discovered that virtual meetings can be nearly as good as live ones. Whereas before you had to book a flight, spend days in overpriced hotels and waste money on fast food, you can now do most of that from your laptop. It’s impossible to predict what will happen after the pandemic, but some companies will definitely continue these practices long after.
What Can We Expect After the Pandemic?
While no one can say for sure, we can take a look at places like China for reference, where most restrictions have been lifted. Instead of going back to the usual routine, many businesses are still using the tools for online work. It’s safe to assume that any business that did well during the quarantine, will continue to rely on these methods. It makes sense for some elements of remote work to remain with all the clear benefits in place.
The real tragedy is that many were unable to make the transition, and lost their jobs as a result. Both seniors and younger people with no computer training were at a huge disadvantage when the quarantine started. This will continue to be a problem long after the quarantine, as the standards of work change. Many job positions will now require computer skills even if the job itself doesn’t. This is why tech literacy continues to be mandatory in the modern workplace. It’s never too late to take up computer training courses, and improve your prospects of getting a job or keeping the one you have.
Take Care of Yourself While Working From Home
While there are many benefits of remote work that we already mentioned, there is the major downside, your health. Sitting long hours is destructive for your body, and working from home can make it even worse. Even though commuting back and forth is time-consuming and costly, it also keeps you active and mobile. This mostly comes down to self-discipline, but there are many ways to reduce the strain of long working hours.
If you have to sit for hours at a time as you work, Chair Yoga can save you from a lot of pain and discomfort. There are various exercises you can do in a limited space to alleviate the pressure on your spine and your body. Always remember to take short breaks every half an hour or so, and walk around the house for a while. As soon as you start feeling stiffness in shoulders or your lower back, try doing some light stretches right from your chair. Working from home can do wonders for you with just a little self-discipline. Always take the necessary precautions and remember to take care of your body and your posture, so they can take care of you!
Computer Training one-on-one remotely
Computer Coaching one-on-one remotely using your computer, in the context of what you need to learn with a computer coach is invaluable. You will save so much time trying to work out how to do things when you get stuck. All you have to do is call Zoe at Computer Coach Australia on 0407 956 071 or better still send us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. We will send you a list of topics to choose from if you just want to brush up your skills, or specifically custom design training to suit your skills. At Computer Coach Australia we work with beginners to advanced We start at the place you are at with your learning and take you to wherever you want to go. This could be the basics of file management to creating your own website and using social media. We love to hear from you and no question is too small to ask.