Work looks a little different these days. Some of us are sitting in our original office cubicles. Some of us are working from the kitchen table. Others are working halfway around the world!
Whether or not you are a fan of the work-from-home lifestyle, working from home brings its own onset of challenges and adjustments. This new normal is not going anywhere anytime soon, so, let’s talk about how we can adjust to the future of our working lives.
We have read, shared and re-read great articles on the future of work trends for 2023- here are a few of our favorites and our summary-
The Pros and Cons of Working From Home
Everything in life comes with shades of gray, including work. In order to effectively embrace and adjust to the work circumstances we have been handed, it can be helpful to look at the benefits and negatives of the working-from-home experience.
Pros of WFH:
- Increased flexibility during the day: Without the eye of your boss on you all day and the office chair tying you down, you now have the freedom to take breaks during the day to workout, go on a walk, play an instrument, or grab lunch with a friend. This flexibility for midday breaks can be life giving and a great way to reset your mind to take on the rest of the day.
- Ability to spend more time with your family: Combining your home with your work means you get to see your loved ones more throughout the day. Even when we are swamped with tasks and holed up in offices or bedrooms for most of the day, we can still take a quick trip to the common space to share a laugh, a story, or a bite with your loved ones.
- More accessibility to comfort: No need for the pantsuits and neckties. Sweatpants, tshirts, and pajama pants are the new norm. A little bit more comfort is a welcome addition to our long work days.
- Humanizing your colleagues: With all of the technical difficulties, dogs barking, and kids screaming that ZOOM meetings bring, we are able to see our colleagues as more than their job title and provide a little more grace and patience with people.
- Spending time in nature: Take your work outside! Go on a walk! Go nurture your garden! Working from your home office can allow you the flexibility to take your work to a coffee shop, a beer garden, or even a park bench.
- Opportunity to work while you travel: Gone are the days wishing and waiting for the right time to go see the world. Working remotely allows you to take your work with you, wherever you may be!
- Seeing your dog: Dogs are a man’s best friend. We can’t argue with that.
- More productive mid-day breaks: Gardenuity believes in the power and importance of taking breaks during the work or school day. After all, the human brain can only stay focused for about 45 minutes at a time. Taking a break that gives you life, a burst of creativity, and the motivation to tackle the rest of the day is a huge player in life-work balance success. Remote work allows for more variety, consistency, and productivity in your midday breaks.
- Less money spent on going out for lunch or breakfast: Raise your hand if you stopped by Starbucks every day on the way to your office job. Who didn’t? In the hustle and bustle of getting to an office job, important parts of your day can be disregarded. Breakfast, coffee, and lunch end up being unhealthy, expensive, measly, or not nourishing. When you are sitting at your kitchen table for remote work, do yourself a favor and make a nourishing meal.
- Uptick in desire to have social interaction outside of work: When everyone was sitting in an office filled with people for 8 hours a day, 5 days a week, the last thing they wanted to do was go interact with more people. Going home, making dinner, and watching some tv sounded much more appealing. However, as we transitioned into being at home all day, the desire to do more and see more during the weekday increased.
Cons of WFH:
- Less human interaction: You never thought you would miss your boss… until you didn’t see them regularly.
- Harder to build professional relationships: Water cooler talk is no longer possible thanks to our computer screens. Building and nurturing our professional relationships can feel impossible without face to face dialogue.
- Communication challenges: Technology brings an onset of technical difficulties, challenges with scheduling time with your team, and an overall disconnect between team members, as emails and slacks oftentimes don’t spread the message effectively.
- Decrease in collaborative spirit: It is easier to feel like you are all alone when you aren’t surrounded by your team members. Team members can be harder to reach, questions take longer to get answered, and collaboration can feel overwhelming over Zoom.
- Learning curves for new hires: Although students everywhere are no stranger to the world of Zoom and online learning, being thrown into their first job through a webcam can be confusing and complicated.
- Technology challenges: We can all relate to this one. Wifi losing signal. Meeting times expiring. New links needed for a call. All of the logistics that go into taking a meeting can now feel like a whole job in itself.
- Burnout: Staring at a computer screen all day, without any face to face interaction, is exhausting. It can be difficult to keep up your motivation and drive when you feel disconnected from your team members and the mission of the company.
- Being in your house all day: Just as separation of church and state is in place, a separation of home and work can be helpful. Working from home combines the two which results in anxiety manifesting in a place that should be seen as the place to rest.
- Difficult to see the big picture of projects: When we are in an office, we can easily see all of the little bits of work coming together to make a final product. With remote work, it can be more challenging to see the work coming to life and your important role in creating it.
- Lack of belief in company mission and values: Company culture is a huge component of employee satisfaction and retention. When we are not directly surrounded by the company in our day to day, it can be hard to see the values and mission of the company firsthand.
You may have some other roses or thorns to throw into the mix, but the point of a list is to look at what we appreciate about our work lives, as well as get to the root of why working from our homes may be hard.
When we are able to visualize what we view as a challenge, we are better able to combat those issues and work on reframing our mindset or changing something for the better. Acknowledging how we feel about the constraints on our employee wellness and happiness can create a space for change and acceptance.
If you are missing your connections with your coworkers, schedule a coffee date! If you don’t vibe with the home office, check out a WeWork or a cool cafe! If you want to create better understanding and communication with your team, have a virtual or in-person happy hour.
Even though we do not know exactly what the future of work looks like, we can adapt and persevere by taking action and creating the environment that we desire.
For more information regarding burnout, life-work balance, and engaging teams in the workplace, check out The Sage!