It’s almost been two years since the COVID pandemic started in early 2020 which caused a lot of us started working from home. While it took a little while for us to adjust there are benefits to working from home. In this article I’ll share 5 reasons why hybrid working from home is great and 3 reasons why I also miss the office.
1.) Saving in commute time
When working from home a few days a week you no longer have to commute into the office which means you can use that time for other activities. That means whether you want to work out more, work more to progress your career, or something else, it’s nice to get some time back in our day.
2.) Being More Present with Your Family
For a lot of us our lives have changed a lot in the past couple years. My life certainly has evolved from having two parents working in the office before the pandemic, to having both parents at home to virtual school our kids in the beginning of 2020. Fast forward to 2021 when both my husband and I started new jobs and he traveled each week which meant I was working full time and virtual schooling two kids.
It was a lot to say the least, but thankfully I had help with an amazing teacher coming to my home a few days a week. I’m not sure how I would have survived the spring of 2021 without having the additional support of a teacher. For that I am grateful and know that not everyone can have that as an option.
Then thankfully in the Fall of 2021 our kids went back to school after over a year at home and I am still working from home. Being home has allowed me to be more present with my family.
A couple years ago I would have never imagined how much our lives would have changed from new jobs to virtual schooling the kids. I am so much more appreciative of teachers for taking care of our kids each and every day.
I know our story is no exception and a lot of families and those with no kids have had to endure a lot throughout the pandemic.
Before the pandemic to succeed in Corporate America I understood that often I would get home late. Now when my kids come home from school I have less commute time so I am able to spend more time with my kids in the evening.
There is little time spent on “transitions” to and from work which means more time being present with my family.
3.) More Job Opportunities
With hybrid work that means you don’t necessarily have to live as close to the office. Before the pandemic I would only consider a job it was within 30 minutes and 45 minutes with traffic from my house. Now if you have to go into the office two to three times a week then you may be able to live further away which means there could potentially be more job opportunities than there were before. Even if you commute for an hour to work if you only have to go in two or even three times a week you are spending similar amounts of time commuting than before when working at a close job but going into the office every day.
This is good both for companies because they get a larger talent pool and good for employees as they are able to have more job options.
4.) Forces You to be More Assertive
Especially if you are starting a new job while working remotely in order for you to get to know the team or get your questions answered you have to be more assertive. Before when working in the office could more readily make friends and bump into a colleague who could answer your questions. While working remotely you have to be willing to set up a meeting as ask for help or send an email and ask a question.
It is generally good to be assertive so it’s great that working from home encourages this important skill.
Being assertive leads to being less anxious and stressed, having greater job satisfaction, and being a better does and problem solver.https://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/Assertiveness.htm
5.) Generally, Working Hybrid Leads to more Effective and Efficient Time Use
With little time spent on commute, transitions, and even small talk working from home allows a lot of workers to be more effective and efficient with time. There can be fewer distractions with coworkers stopping by your desk (even though that is fun) which can allow you to finish that assignment more quickly.
Not only can I be more effective with work, but if I have to pick up my kids from after school care or take them to a sports practice, I don’t have to leave as early as before. This also means less stress in worrying about getting stuck in the commute.
Working hybrid allows me to maximize my time at work and as a mother. Another added bonus is that I am able to cook more frequently than before. When going into work I would get home after 6:00pm. It would be both quicker and easier for me to pick up food on the way home. Now that I am already home, I can more readily cook dinner and even continue to work as needed before or after dinner which I frequently do.
This can mean saving money on going out to eat and more healthy meals. Certainly, I have been cooking and eating in a lot more since working from home than when I had to go into the office five days a week.
Three Reasons Why The Office Is Also Nice
While working from home has a lot of benefits, after spending over ten years working in the office, I certainly believe there are benefits to seeing your colleagues in person as noted below.
1.) Making Connections with Those That You Don’t Directly Interact with for Your Current Job Responsibilities
One of the benefits of being efficient while working from home can also be a drawback because when working in the office it is nice to meet coworkers from other departments. Even if you don’t have a work meeting with someone you can still get to know other colleagues that you run into in the office cafeteria or in the halls.
We are all social creatures and I know I certainly thrive in social environments. In fact, social interaction is critical for mental and physical health. Working from the office can be great because you get to see your coworkers. While working from home now I do miss seeing a lot of my coworkers and am looking forward to seeing them and meeting others once we go back into the office.
2.) A Change of Scenery and a Separation of Work and Personal Life
While working from home has it’s benefits and efficiencies it is also nice to go into the office allowing for a more-clear separation between work and personal life. Simply driving home creates space between work and your personal life and by going into the office you create this separation.
It’s also nice to have a change of scenery from being the same neighborhood all day. A lot of our jobs have more restaurant selections than where we live. While I live in a neighborhood in San Francisco there are actually a lot of restaurants where I live, but it is still nice to have a reason to go into work for a change of pace.
3.) Working in the Office Can Increase Collaboration, Team Building, and Creativity
At the office you get to see other coworkers resulting in more opportunities to collaborate and be creative even if not planned. This can lead to strengthening teams. You can have lunch with coworkers or go on a walk together. There are lots of opportunities to find ways to collaborate with your coworkers when at the office. These small bursts of information exchange and team building are harder while working from home.
Even Harvard Business Review notes benefits of increased collaboration, purpose, and culture with being in the office.
Now that I am not in the office as much, I do appreciate these opportunities that I had in the past. I truly enjoyed seeing my coworkers and greeting them in the halls. I am definitely passionate in spending time and helping others and by being at the office I am more likely to be able to get my people fix every day rather than working from home.
Even after two years of the COVID pandemic I think we are still figuring out what the new normal will be. Likely for a lot of us it’ll be a hybrid type of working environment with some working from home and some working in the office. In my opinion this is the best of both worlds. While there has been a lot of challenges with the COVID pandemic, being able to rethink the optimal hybrid working environment has been a blessing.
Especially for working mothers and working parents we are in a better position to integrate our home and work responsibilities. We are able to make it work. While I am not sure what the future holds and what the new hybrid environment will look like and based on many employers pushing back their return to work plans, others are likely in the same position. One thing I am sure of is that being flexible and adaptable to the new working environment will go a long way.
At least for me I will welcome both going into work and working from home. After spending the majority of my career in the office, I never thought I’d be in the position to have the opportunity to work from home like we do today. I am grateful we’ll both be able to see coworkers and juggle home responsibilities of dropping off kids / picking up kids most days of the week.
I know there are many of those that work on the front lines or are teachers that have to go into work every day and for those of you we are truly indebted to your services.
5 Reasons why working hybrid is great:
1.) Saving in Commute Time
2.) Being More Present with Your Family
3.) More Job Opportunities
4.) Forces You to Be More Assertive
5.) More Effective and Efficient Use of Time
3 Reasons Why Working From the Office is Also Great
1.) Making Connections with Those Outside of Your Job Scope
2.) Separation of Work and Personal Life
3.) Increased Team Building and Creativity
What has been your experience of working from home? If you don’t work from home I’d love to hear about your profession. Are you looking forward to going back into the office?