Work From Home Will Become Part Of Life Or Not?

For years, workers around the world have been dreaming of getting the flexibility to work from home. It’s ironic that the COVID-19 pandemic,

Work From Home Will Become Part Of Life Or Not?

Which has removed so many of our normal activities, is what made working from home a part of the next normal.

For many workers, switching to a work from home setting is the silver lining to the coronavirus cloud. A survey revealed that almost half of all workers  49%  have never worked from home before, but 42% say that they want to continue working from home more often after the pandemic has passed.

Cutting the commute increases employee energy

Working from home offers many benefits for both employees and for enterprises themselves. The most obvious one is that working from home removes the need to commute anywhere. The average commute in the US has risen to over 27 minutes, but around busy metropolises like New York City, Chicago, Washington, D.C, and San Francisco, where many jobs are concentrated, that rises to close to 40 minutes. And that’s just the average; Americans are accustomed to hours-long commutes. Rising in the early hours to beat the rush hour and cut commute time is a familiar story to workers in busy metro areas.

After a long commute to work, many employees are so exhausted that it takes the first hour or two of work to regain their focus. Spending time jostling against other commuters for space on the bus or train, concentrating on driving well through busy traffic, or fretting about being late while stuck in a jam uses up valuable mental and emotional energy that your employees could be using for their work tasks.

An old but valuable study by esteemed academic Daniel Kahaneman found that the morning commute is the most negative time of day for everyone. Working from home compresses that journey into a 3-second walk from the kitchen to the home office, kitchen table, or wherever you left your laptop the night before. The energy that was previously used up in traveling can be redirected to greater creativity and productivity in the sphere of work.

Regaining lost time: priceless

That’s without even mentioning the amount of time saved by cutting out the commute. If you gain an extra hour or two of valuable time in their day, you can spend more of it getting your work done. Most people are at their most focused and productive in the morning, which means that these most valuable work hours are wasted struggling against the traffic. When you work from home, you can reapply those hours of peak focus to getting more work done in a shorter amount of time.

Working from home claws back more time for work in a different way. For working parents, dealing with child-related issues can cut huge holes out of their working day. If you have to take a child to the doctor, therapy appointment, tutoring, or other appointment, that effectively adds another commute into the middle of your day, gobbling up even more work hours. When you work from home, you can schedule these appointments for your natural low-energy times, plus you won’t have to waste time traveling home from work and back to work before and after the appointment.

Tapping into peak productivity

If you’re not a morning person, working from home has the additional benefit of allowing you to match your work schedule to your natural rhythm of productivity peaks and troughs. Most people’s energy levels don’t rise at 9 and drop at 5 to match the traditional working day. Instead, it’s normal to have your concentration and focus rise and fall multiple times throughout the day.

Working in the office forces every employee onto the same schedule. When you shift to WFH, you can attack your work fiercely when your contention is high, and then schedule your daily run for the point when your attention wanders and you aren’t able to get much done. It means that your working hours are far more productive, plus you can make the most of your attention troughs by using them to get mundane household chores or regular exercise out of the way. Night owls can stay up late working and start their day late without inconveniencing anyone.

A new normal can still take getting used to

It’s important to bear in mind that it can take some time for employees to adjust to the different work settings, even if they’ve been wishing for WFH for years. Allow an adjustment period of a couple of weeks while everyone finds them their optimum work furniture, work hours, and workspace within the home.

Working from home may be the most enduring legacy of COVID-19

While some people and companies may struggle to switch to work from home, for most of the population working from home increases productivity, rescues wasted time, and enables employees to apply more energy to their work. Supporting the shift to working from home in a crisis may turn out to be the best decision your enterprise ever made.

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