Here we are…just over two years after Covid-19 changed the face of the workplace forever. Companies that hadn’t ever explored remote work suddenly were forced into the situation of figuring something out or close their doors. Most figured something out. Companies that had pushed off remote work considerations as too difficult also came to realize that it wasn’t because they “couldn’t” accommodate remote work, they simply “wouldn’t” accommodate it. And guess what, now amazingly they can! For example, one company was able to take 300 call center employees, all based in one large space, and got them all into remote work at home in a matter of three days!
Now many employees are back at work. Some continuing to be remote, some in a hybrid situation, and some in traditional office space environments with little to no change since Covid-19. In fact, some never left the workplace, as those jobs necessitated being in person. The current scenario of workplace options, coupled with the Great Resignation, now have organizations consciously looking at specific jobs and determining what positions really need to be in person, which can be remote, and which should be hybrid.
More Choices and Options
Employees and job seekers are also being confronted with choices now and companies are developing more robust options. Any time choices are available, making wise decisions becomes paramount. And just because one option may work well for your friend, it may not work well for you. Proverbs 1:5 tells us, “Let the wise listen and add to their learning, and let the discerning get guidance.” While we won’t claim to have all the answers, we’re hopeful for the month of August to add to your learning and suggest some guidance in the area of remote work.
Probably the first step in discerning whether remote work might be the right choice for you is to consider the pros and cons. Like many topics, a simple list of what might work and what might not is a great place to start. Here are a few:
Pros and Cons of Working Remotely
- Better work / life balance – no commuting time frees up your time to balance life out, including focus on getting work done without office distractions
- Higher productivity – rather than just doing the work in the allotted office hours, surveys show people reporting getting more done in less time
- Flexibility – more freedom with office hours and interweaving personal time allows people a broader canvas in which to live their lives
- Cost savings – come from eliminating commuting (gas and parking), along with your vehicle’s wear and tear
- Healthier lifestyle – rest, food, and exercise all are in more direct control
- Worse work / life balance – it can be a double-edged sword, with some people not having the discipline to “turn off” the work, and they end up actually working longer hours
- Decreased teamwork – any virtual / telephonic environment diminishes the time and potentially the relationships needed to get work done
- Reduced social interaction – physiological studies have shown how much human beings need in-person time, and being remote is a barrier to socializing
- Lack of access to information – it’s amazing how much informal communication yields useful information, along with ongoing challenges to find data that’s not digitally stored
- Work space needs – while most companies offer good support for your work space, they don’t control your home environment, so wifi interruptions and home distractions may create challenges
Of course there are others, and many articles are available for you to consider multiple perspectives. Much of this decision will come down to knowing yourself well and also doing some good investigative work on the organization you’re pursuing. Crossroad Career resources are available as well for deeper dives which can further contribute to your learning and guidance.
Dave Sparkman currently serves as the volunteer Crossroads Career board chair and local ministry leader. He is also the founder and managing director of Spark Your Culture, a corporate culture consulting firm. Prior to that he worked at UnitedHealth Group, a Fortune #5 public company, serving in the role of Chief Culture Officer. His unemployment experience came from the implosion of Arthur Andersen, where he served as the West Region Managing Partner, People.