Take a breath: can we work from home forever?

This is the latest installment in the Take a Breath series, in which we explore ways to transform the pandemic challenges into positive strategic improvements.

Now that we have experience working from home for many weeks, without a choice, many of us now have a green light to find our way back to our offices. But is working from home the way forward? Here are 5 areas to explore to make a well-informed decision.

  • Productivity. Are team members working from home more or less productive than in the office? You now have data to prove it! Take time to explore individual differences: the introvert who loves to work undisturbed and has a long commute will likely show a WFH boost compared to the bubbly extrovert who loves to get in-office time away from children and house worries.
  • Collaboration. Can team members collaborate effectively when working remote? If everyone is working from home, you’ve had to adapt to a more formal way of communication. But if some people are in the office and some not, will the remote folks be left out of essential communications and collaboration processes?
  • Recruiting. If your team members can work from home, it means that they can be anywhere. Does enlarging your pool of candidates help you find better-qualified individuals?
  • Onboarding. Many organizations have found that it’s difficult to onboard new hires remotely because much of what needs learning is not formally recorded. Can you create a process to onboard new hires, or do you need to have them be in-office for the first weeks or months?
  • Flexibility. Some individuals thrive with a 100% WFH setup, but many find it too isolating. Perhaps the best way forward is to allow flexibility, with partial WFH schedules, or with mandatory in-office days for everyone to meet, train, or interact with other teams. How much flexibility will you allow?

Are you thinking about permanent WFH decisions? What are you considering as you make your decisions? Please share your thoughts in the comments. And stay healthy!

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