The Pandemic changed the way we live and work. Companies made annual plans at the end of 2019 and ended up shelving them as governments around the world instituted lockdown policies that made the usual way of working impossible. Eventually, many had to explore new ways to deliver services. Work From Home (WFH) went from being a feel-good experiment that HR occasionally tried to a crucial element of organisational survival. Some industries fared better than others. Workers also responded differently to the new way of working. Some took to the new freedom like a fish to water. Others not so well.
There are decades where nothing happens and weeks where decades happen.Vladimir Ilyich Lenin
The success of WFH depended on a large part on one’s home environment. If you already had a home office from which you sometimes worked, you were a step ahead. If you had to look after children while trying to meet deadlines from the living room, that was a minus. As lockdown restrictions were eased, some workers began agitating for more flexible work options. They had seen the value of being able to get an extra hour of sleep and not having to endure traffic each day. Others were only too happy to return to the office. For all its fault, the office was a place that had been made for work. Working from the office also meant providing electricity and a stable internet connection was your employer’s responsibility.
While a lot has changed, the pandemic has not led to the complete elimination of the Office as some had predicted. Rather, I imagine the organisations that can afford to will set up a hybrid working model where some staff will be allowed to work from home on some days but will be required to come into the office for important events.
After six months of spending three hours a day on back-to-back zoom calls (“Can you hear me?” “Is my presentation visible?” “Mute your mic.”), some of us gained a fresh appreciation for face-to-face interactions. What was your work from home experience like? Would you like to share?