When the pandemic became serious and worldwide, a lot of places shut down. Instead of going out of business entirely, they sent their workers home and set them up with computer-based ways to interact. That meant that work could keep moving forward, and companies could stay in business for the good of their employees and the customers who needed and wanted their services, too. But now that the pandemic is easing and restrictions are starting to lift, is remote working here to stay?
It seems like it might be. There are many companies that switched to remote work during the pandemic and now aren't sure if they want to switch back. They save money by not having in-person offices, and their workers are generally just as productive. While there are definitely certain types of jobs that have to be handled in person, many types of employment don't require people to be in the same room or even the same city. It's these kinds of jobs that may stay remote, long after the pandemic is just a memory.
Remote work is based on people working from their homes, instead of being all together in an office or other location. Technically, remote work doesn't have to be done from home, though. It can be done from coffee shops, beaches, or anywhere else. It's just not done at the office. But with the pandemic, most remote workers are in their homes where they can get everything done and not risk exposing themselves or others to the virus.
Even before the pandemic, there were a lot of remote workers. Some people in the gig economy work remotely, while others who work for larger companies work that way because it's easy and convenient for many types of jobs. It can also be less expensive for companies, since they don't have to provide office space and other amenities. With so much technology available, it's not difficult for most people to work remotely, as long as their jobs don't require physical contact with the people they're interacting with.
There are pros and cons to remote work, from the point of view of the workers themselves. For example, many of them enjoy being able to work from home so they don't have to worry about a commute. They don't need as many work clothes, and don't have to take or buy their lunches out. That can help them save some money. They can also work on their own schedule in some instances, which allows them to handle other tasks around their home and take care of their families more easily, as well.
But there can be downsides to remote work. One of those is that it can lead to loneliness in some people. A lot of people like the interaction they have when they go to work every day. Especially for people who live alone, or who tend to be very social, remote work can be stressful. It can also lead to anxiety and depression in some people, because they're missing out on the types of interactions they were having with other people before the pandemic required them to start working remotely.
Like workers, companies seem to have mixed opinions about remote work. It can be easier for some companies, and that's especially true of those that already had a lot of remote workers before the pandemic. It's also popular with companies that don't want a lot of overhead, or that are more focused on hiring people from all around the world instead of only those who are located close to them. For companies like this, remote work can be a big benefit and help them find the best talent for their industry.
Other companies, though, aren't getting as much value from remote work. When companies don't feel comfortable letting people work from home, or when they need people to be together in the same room for ease of collaboration, remote work may not help them. There are some types of jobs that simply need to be done in person, and trying to have people work remotely in those instances doesn't work. For many types of work, though, remote work is possible but not always the most convenient.
Unless a job requires someone to be hands-on with a person or a system of some kind, it can generally be handled remotely. Doctor's visits can even be remote in many instances, but a surgery or procedure couldn't be done that way. Insurance professionals, attorneys, and accountants can all work remotely fairly easily. Additionally, a marketing specialist and those who do similar types of job can work remotely without much problem. They don't need to do their job in person to be successful at it.
A lot of companies will probably go back to having people come into the office when it's safe to do so, but there are plenty of companies that are just going to stay remote when the pandemic is over. Even if these companies wouldn't have allowed remote work in the past, they can now see that it doesn't cause a problem for their workers or their clients. By recognizing that remote work is a viable option for their business models, they may be more likely to just let it continue for the foreseeable future.
Remote work is changing company culture. The people who have been working remotely during the pandemic have adjusted and adapted to it, and the companies they work for have had to do the same. It's forced a cultural shift in the working world, where working from home is seen as a much more common practice than ever before. Even though many people will go back to being in the office, there's still a significant number who won't. That will be much more normalized than it's ever been in the past.