The Corona virus Covid-19 has shown that many people, particularly in office based jobs, are able to successfully work from home with little or no detriment to the business. That may be convenient for some employers, after the end of the pandemic, but others will want to see all staff members back at their desks. Then there is everything to hand to assist in carrying out their duties and, perhaps more importantly, the opportunity for interaction with other members of staff.
Many people like the discipline of going to an office every day, spending the allotted time working and then leaving their desk and their work-based problems when they go home to relax. Having all your work ‘at home’ can increase stress. It can result in erratic hours and possibly not being able to ‘switch off’. Thinking of something relevant ‘out of hours’ may require a note to be made to be dealt with on the following day ‘in the office’.
Thinking of something relevant if working from home may result in a return to the computer immediately and can extend the working day. This can produce further stress and eventually give rise to problems for both the employer and the employee.
Perhaps a more important aspect is the social contact with other staff which is missed when working from home. It is all very well talking on the telephone or skyping or teleconferencing but, in general, most people respond best to face to face meetings. Yes, you can buy most things ‘on line’ from Amazon and have them delivered to your home but a large number of people still want to ‘go shopping’ to see the item in three dimensions and to tell the quality by seeing it physically.
This may not apply within an office environment where there is no tangible object but the meeting face to face may be relevant to the customer. How often in the twenty-first century do we hear of people being lonely? There are been frequent comments in the news of the mental repercussions of the Lock Down during the first half of 2020.
Perhaps working from home was not such a good idea. There are many self-employed people, now, running a business from home. That is a life-style choice and does not prevent face to face meetings with customers, suppliers or normal social interaction. But an employee may miss the office atmosphere and the opportunity to talk to co-workers or just to ‘get away’ from the home environment.
It is a decision for the employer to make. Is it beneficial to have staff working from home, reducing some overheads and possibly increasing others? It is also a decision for the individual employee, can domestic and business life run smoothly side by side or can one encroach on the other?
There is no simple conclusion to the potential problem or even, as far as this article is concerned, a summary. It is for employer and employee to discuss the situation and come to a mutual decision.