A new balance for a new normal - Work from Home.
The year of doom, 2020, confronted the human race with challenges of a kind whose ripple effects will be seen and traversed by us, and future generations, for countless years to come. A devastatingly life-threatening virus took away our normal way of things overnight and left us with a looming sense of loss. A loss of life, of physical contact, of a work-life balance, and that of happiness.
Amongst the chaos, what stayed behind with us, the one thing that helped us wake up each morning and take on the day was hope. Hope and faith in each other, in our capacity to rebuild a kind, successful and bright future.
We are now living in a post-pandemic, rather a mid-pandemic world, and the unique ways in which each sector of the workforce has taken their roles online to face the challenges of this new world, has been most interesting to observe. Words such as 'quarantine', 'lockdown', 'pandemic' have definitely seen a boom in their use over the last year and so has the practice of 'work from home' (popularized as #WFH). Given that this might be the most rational option for organizations as per the mandate of social distancing, the work from home setup has its definite ups and downs. It has obvious pros such as cost savings for the companies in promotions, travel, and entertainment, and no commute for employees saving them time and money.
Whereas the cons are more technical and psychological such as the inability to unplug creating an uneven work-life balance, distractions or lack of a workspace at home, and connectivity issues resulting in low productivity.
When it comes to judging the aptness of a WFH model in a workspace, an important factor to consider is the industry it is being applied to. For example, even though companies that provide digital marketing services for small businesses or those that develop contactless technology, might have been able to function well under the WFH system, other industries like hospitality, retail, and medicine cannot face this as a new reality.
We have all been able to experience what our lives feel like while we work out of the comfort of our own homes. And even though it has its benefits, it is most definitely not a long-term sustainable option. Workspace challenges, lethargy, effect on mental health, and a lack of creative collaboration are already strong enough reasons for this to not be our new normal. However, with the worldwide shift to WFH for companies as well as the working population, this model will remain very critical and will most likely transform into a hybrid approach, with a balance of in-office and work-from-home days, once the pandemic is over.
The question that now stands to be answered is how prepared we really are to go back into an office to work?
Whether or not we liked it, WFH had already become our new normal over the past year and a lot has changed since. The pandemic forced the whole world to resort to virtual practices and hence the digital space has seen a glorious jump over the past year. As times change yet again, so will our working practices and the new challenges that come with it.
Of all the things we've learned from the year that has passed, it is our power as humans to adapt, to even the harshest of conditions, which will keep us going.