Why the office workforce should stay working from home.
Due to the quarantine, some of the workforces have moved to the comfort of their homes. Office jobs such as telemarketing and customer service maintained their jobs with work laptops. Now that the country is slowly opening, an important question is being discussed and argued: Why can't their jobs continue working from home?
WIth health liabilities still being figured out in the era of the coronavirus, the arguments for working from home becomes stronger. Workers can infect the whole office and can also infect their families at home. Working from home is a very viable option for many of the jobs. It is safer for everyone and it contains the contamination. I don't see much benefit on either party (employers and employees) going back to work in the office buildings with a new health hazard.
The internet has made it possible to work remotely and since everything is moving towards virtual work, it wouldn't make sense to reverse it, especially with a life-threatening virus. Even if the vaccine is created and the virus stops being a threat, working from home still has many benefits that outway the costs.
Benefits working from Home
Besides the health reason, there are many other benefits people might not know when they work from home. Workers can do tax write-off the part of their home that is used for work and also make a tax write off on the internet, electricity, and most utilities. Other tax write-offs are home insurance and mortgage interest. With the growing percentage of the workforce working from home, let's hope this won't force revisions on the tax benefits. While it is still active, people should take advantage of these benefits as it can save them money during tax season.
Parents can take care of their children or the elderly when they're home, minimizing babysitting costs or elderly care. Families will feel more connected as the commute time is replaced with family time. Work has always been in conflict with family ties, but with the ability to work from home, families can become stronger and maintain stability. This has many good implications especially those with children. Working from home allows parents to have a closer relationship with their children and guide them through their growth.
Stressors arise when people are not in their comfort zone. The home is where most people feel comfortable. Workplace stress has always been a problem that needs to be solved. Many architects and office designers try their best to create a calmer environment. With a concentration of people working, transmitting stress is almost guaranteed. The transition of working from home will at least decrease most of the stress of work. Unwanted interactions of certain coworkers and people during the commute can be eliminated. People can explore their hobbies during breaks, spend time with loved ones, entertain themselves, and feel less constrained. Not everyone and every job will offer these benefits even working from home, but the majority should find a less stressful workspace. Less stress can also improve performance.
Individuals can also reflect in their lives and decide if the job is really what they want. Fewer stressors can result in more time to think introspectively. Some people who are mentally suffering from the stressors of the workplace can finally feel relief. Introverts will have a more comfortable time at home as they are now judged more on their performance than their physical presence due to implicit bias acted upon by their coworkers and employers.
Pursuit of Ambitions
Some people are working not because it gives them happiness and finds their lives more purposeful, but they are working to pay the bills and survive. Some might even have been pressured into an unwanted job. When these people transition to working from home, they gain invaluable time to explore and pursue their hobbies and other career ambitions. One of the keys to success is putting yourself in a position where you have fewer stressors and more time to act upon for yourself. Those who want to be a writer, an artist, a content creator, and more, now will have more time and energy to pursue their ambitions.
More diverse workforce
Companies now can recruit office workers from anywhere in the world. This will promote diversity as people are picked for their skills and nothing else. In conjunction with the discrimination laws, more skilled individuals can have opportunities that they could never get if they are required to be in the physical office. Of course, this should already have happened but I hope this will change the perception of most people's biases and discriminatory foundation.
The domino effect
There are bigger implications than the benefits I have listed above. With more people working from home, traffic would decrease in volume, fewer buildings are needed to shelter office employees, and less pollution from car transportation. Working from home also eliminates transportation costs to and from work and more importantly, the time it gets to work. This also benefits those who do need to be physically at work with a better commute. There might not even be a need for a car. There are also improved quality of life for most with more time to sleep. Working remotely can also help declutter the urban environment, as people can work in different parts of the country or the world. There are positive global impact if work from home becomes more frequent and implemented everywhere.
Negatives working from Home
Most of the negative, I can think of are mostly from big employing companies. But in general, I think these disadvantages actually will benefit the people and benefit the company in the long run. Companies that sign long duration leases on their buildings will try to sway people to come back to work in those buildings.
Encourages poorer work ethic
There will always be employees that won't perform to the employer's expectations and some that will neglect work if they can get away with it. This can be a big detriment to the performance of the company. One of the advantages of being at the workplace is the ability to detect good and bad workers. With the shift to working at home, some people could deteriorate in their commitment and efforts towards the success of the company. I believe to solve this, there should be a strict recruitment process and quotas to be met. I think this will be a temporary problem as companies will find ways and metrics to monitor the employee's performance.
Telemarketers might be more distracted from home as they take on responsibilities they didn't have at the office. If the person's income is commission-based, this might be more challenging to be productive at work.
The need for wifi
Not every office employee has the privilege of having a resourceful home. Some see an improvement in conditions when they go to their workplace. This might be a temporary problem and maybe the employer would pay for the internet, but some people might feel more comfortable being at the office with the added resource that the work office provides.
Toxic household and claustrophobia
To some people, the household can be a toxic environment. I know some people find work to be an escape or even a haven. As more people work from home, there will be an increase in domestic conflicts and even domestic violence. Some people can also feel trapped being at home too much as they begin to mentally deteriorate with the work and the responsibility at home. It is beneficial sometimes to disconnect work from personal life. Mental claustrophobia can be dangerous and unhealthy for certain individuals. The extroverts that look forward to going to the bar every Friday or just seeing people will suffer from working at home.
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