These last few weeks have been trying for everyone. Well, maybe I’m projecting, but I can’t imagine not being affected by our country’s current state. I was hesitant about this post because I didn’t want to lose sight of the topic and significance of my last post. However, we’re still dealing with the reality of COVID-19, and how employers are navigating our way through the pandemic.
Businesses have started to reopen. Depending on where you live, the specific phase may vary, but the country has begun to open nonetheless. Organizations have started having conversations on how to be more agile in providing work from home accommodations to their employees. The convenience and cost-effectiveness of continuing to work from home post-COVID-19 have resonated with many CEOs, which has resulted in many of them supporting the idea of the work-from-home trend (insert my raised hand here). A recent survey of 317 CFO’s and business finance leaders by Gartner found that 74 percent of those surveyed expect at least 5 percent of their workforce to become permanent work-from-home employees after the pandemic ends. Companies such as Facebook, Twitter, and Shopify are amongst leaders who are advocating for this transition. However, there are several things to consider when weighing this option. Here we weigh the pros and cons of permanently working from home.
Alleviate traffic/no commute (YAY!)
Comfort levels increased with a home office environment
Overhead costs for companies can dramatically decrease
Decreased susceptibility to COVID-19 transmission due to social distancing
Set your own schedule (possibly) which can help if you have children at home or caring for a friend/family member
Environmentally ethical as emissions are reduced from lesser amounts of traffic aka better for the environment
Limited interaction and removal of interoffice camaraderie
Home office technology may not be as efficient as your office setup
Increased costs in providing technological infrastructures for home office capabilities (cameras, computers, monitors, connectivity, etc.)
Can lose sight of work-life balance
Non-traditional working environment. Some people have difficulty adjusting to working from home for extended periods
I came across an interesting statement made by Jack Kelly, a Senior Contributor to Forbes. He said, “Critics of the work-from-home trend contend that companies will lose their identity and culture. Employees, particularly younger ones, will miss the lack of social interactions. Part of the camaraderie at work is seeing your co-workers, going out to lunch together, or having a drink after work. This will be absent from the new remote environment”(Forbes 2020). I partially agree with Mr. Kelly’s statement. I believe some employees may miss the traditional office setting; however, I don’t think we need to be in the office for social interactions. I have no issue with Zoom happy hours or lunch meetings. What’s important is that we are interacting.
To some, extended work from home can be detrimental to the overall social landscape. You can argue that there is already enough difficulty communicating in person. Corporate culture is obviously an important benefactor in establishing organizational identity. If clients or customers are without brand representation, it will become difficult for them to develop social connections with organizations. Maintaining the corporate culture with my team is vital. This cultural melting pot that we’ve created at Catalina is what sets us apart from other consulting firms, and I would never want to risk the loss of our foundation. But it also depends on the level of communication you have with your team. This is just another example of why you need to remain engaged, transparent, and keep the lines of communication open. Just talk. It’s crucial, especially now.
What are your thoughts on permanent work from home corporate structures? Let’s have a conversation! Leave your thoughts in the comments below.