With more than 95% of us favoring a change to our working methods, with a move to remote working, it’s safe to say the pandemic has altered our attitudes to our work-life balance. Living at a slower pace, having added freedoms to work from home, being more conscious of our environment, not to mention Zoom calls with a business shirt up top and slippers below, the last year or so has created a dynamic shift in how we work.
Of course, all change comes with pros and cons and as we have now been working from home for a while these changes are becoming evident.
The Physical Costs of Remote Working
The home office has experienced an intense revolution since the pandemic took hold. Office desks, chairs, and supplies sold out quickly in those first months with backorders creating a frenzy as we took to our kitchen tables. We set ourselves up in a corner of the bedroom, refurbished the shed, and held conference calls as the pot boiled over, or the cat joined the conversation. Interruptions became a welcome norm as we balanced home life, family life, and work-life into one big chaotic bundle. But we got the hang of it.
And as we found a balance the hidden costs mounted up. Furnishing the office is not cheap unless you went for the sustainable and budget option of a pop-up cardboard desk! But in the long term that may not be the best choice. Additional costs usually associated with business overheads crossed over to the employee as we paid for our daily energy consumption. Naturally, our heating took a hit as we worked throughout the colder months with our heating costs rising in comparison to the previous year. In addition, energy providers increased their rates during the crisis. Happily, with a HubController, those costs can be minimized and budgeted for (You can read more about the HubController and how it can make you smile here). We have absorbed the additional costs such as broadband, phone, lighting, appliances, and printing, and of course the buckets of coffee.
The Mental Costs of Remote Working
It has been acknowledged that the isolation and loneliness of remote working have had a significant impact on employees as the social interaction with colleagues and contacts has substantially lessened. With over 40% of those working from home stating their mental health has suffered as a result of no longer being in the office or commuting to work. There is a greater incidence of anxiety, depression, and low mood.
In addition, fear of returning to the workplace due to the potential of catching Covid is another factor employers must consider when reopening their workplaces. And finally, a worrying mental cost of remote working is employee burnout. There is only so much a person can sustain when their work practices along with the global pandemic affect them.
The Future of Remote Working
As the drawbacks of remote working become evident, we now recognize that this option is limited. Hybrid working however may be the solution we have been looking for when questioning our work-life balance. Hybrid working offers greater flexibility with higher productivity and engagement from employees. Combining the ability to work from home as well as joining the office dynamic, the options are invaluable to both employee and employer. And of course, despite the higher personal costs as we work from home, there is a safety and relief in knowing that the Happy Hub can save us on average €274 per year with an incredible saving of up to 1 tonne of carbon emissions. (If you would like to read more about the HubController trial, click here) Not only can we build a hybrid future, but we can support the world around us as we do.