The coronavirus crisis has forced every white-collar worker and business person to reconsider almost every aspect of office life. For instance, millions of US office workers are now on their third month of this forced work-from-home (WFH) trial run. Many business leaders stated that remote work is here to stay even in the post-pandemic.
WFH is here to stay
Google has given the green light to workers who don’t need to be in the office to extend the WFH arrangement until the end of the year. Facebook, Twitter, and other big tech companies followed suit. They even announced that their employees could freely choose to work remotely forever.
If your company has made a similar commitment, that’s good news. It means they look after your health and want to give you a sense of clarity and security in today’s world full of uncertainties. But now what?
Working from home temporarily because of stay-at-home orders is one thing; doing it for the next ten or twenty years is another. Transitioning to a permanent WFH setup can be a big deal. It can have a significant impact on both your career and personal life. So, hit that pause button before you take your boss’s offer.
Tune into how you work best
Were you excited about working from home, but now you crave that daily interaction with your teammates? Do you find it difficult to focus on work while homeschooling your child? But if schools and offices reopen, would you be more productive working remotely instead of going to the office every day?
Some people work best in a quiet, semi-isolated environment. Others, however, get energized by daily social interactions. It’s crucial to figure out the type of person and employee you are.
Also, can you mark the line between personal and career life at home? If you have more time for Netflix, piano training, or other hobbies these days, then a long-term WFH setup may not be a bad idea.
See how you’ll work with other working members of your household
For the last three months, you and your partner, who also works from home, probably have found a way to work together under one roof. You work at the breakfast nook while your partner works in the bedroom. Or you both share the long table in the dining area with the agreement to stay silent during work hours. That’s fine for a temporary arrangement. But what if your WFH setup lasts for more than a year? Don’t you want a more permanent office area at home? If so, do you have the equipment and space for it?
Consider also the scenario wherein you choose to WFH forever while your partner goes back to the office. Think about how the dynamic of the household will change. Can you handle the chores and other household responsibilities alone while working from home?
Ask about hybrid work arrangements
If you like working from home but still on the fence about doing it for the long-term, ask your employer about hybrid work setups. Maybe, you can commit to WFH thrice a week and go to the office every Thursday and Friday to keep that social interaction with colleagues. This way, you can have the best of both worlds.
In any case, a company announcement about a long-term remote arrangement is a good opportunity to reassess your current work environment. You can make it better for you and for the sake of your family.