Although many members of the workforce have been advocating for remote work for years, it took a global pandemic to get a large number of businesses on board. However, with COVID-19 vaccines now widely available and tremendous societal pressure to make a hurried return to normal life, businesses of all sizes are now calling employees back to the office. Unsurprisingly, this is being met with a fair amount of resistance from people who have come to understand the advantages of working from home. So, if your employees are pushing to continue remote work, it’s worth considering their reasons.
Freedom from Cumbersome Commutes
You’d be hard-pressed to find a member of the workforce who genuinely enjoys their daily commute. While not true across the board, most commutes entail getting out of bed earlier than you’d prefer, rushing through a variety of grooming rituals, eating breakfast in a hurried manner (if at all), and contending with frustration-inducing rush hour traffic. Then, once the workday has reached its end, you get to battle your way through rush hour traffic once again – only this time, you’ve been run completely ragged by an exhausting day of labor. Needless to say, this can prove particularly stressful for individuals who live and/or work in congested metropolitan areas.
Given how much time many of us spend getting ready for work and driving to and from our respective places of business, it’s easy to see why we’d want to completely eliminate this aspect of the workday. Freedom from grueling commutes helps ensure that we’re better rested for the day ahead and able to begin and end each workday in a comparatively calm state of mind – which can be a boon to both productivity and overall quality of work.
Concern About COVID
While the availability of vaccines is certainly a step in the right direction, it can’t be denied that COVID-19 still presents a very real threat. First off, while vaccination can help save your life, it shouldn’t be regarded as an end-all shield for infection. Although vaccination can dramatically reduce your risk of developing a serious or fatal case of COVID-19, believing that it makes one completely invincible against the novel coronavirus is pure folly.
That being the case, it’s perfectly reasonable for members of the workforce to still be concerned about COVID. To start with, many businesses don’t have masking rules or vaccination mandates in effect, meaning that more cautious employees are essentially at the mercy of team members who scoff at masking and vaccination. Unsurprisingly, this can foster intense fear, anxiety, and resentment among your workforce.
So, rather than erroneously regarding the pandemic as over, allow employees who are rightfully concerned about a virus that has killed over one million Americans to continue working remotely. Forcing them to come back to the office during an active pandemic creates the impression that your business doesn’t care about the health or well-being of its workforce.
Many business owners hold the mistaken belief that remote work leads to decreases in productivity. In reality, however, the opposite is true – and frankly, it isn’t difficult to see why. For starters, not having to deal with cumbersome office politics frees up a lot of time to focus on one’s work. Secondly, without bosses and/or coworkers constantly peeking over one’s shoulder, a lot of the pressure that permeates most workplaces is gone, thus alleviating productivity-hindering anxiety.
Furthermore, many members of the workforce spend a good portion of their workdays trying to look busy. Since they know that finishing tasks early is likely to result in them being given more tasks, they deliberately hamper their own productivity. Conversely, working from home allows them to complete tasks at a comfortable pace without having to worry about being saddled with additional work. Additionally, when looking for effective ways to reward heightened productivity, you can’t go wrong with a good employee recognition platform.
As many members of the workforce have come to discover throughout the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, working from home has a host of advantages. That being the case, it’s easy to see why so many of us prefer remote work to report to a traditional office. Unfortunately, a fair number of employers have been less than accommodating in this matter. If you count yourself among them, you’d do well to consider things from your employees’ perspectives and form a better understanding of their needs.