The world as we know it changed in 2020 with the coronavirus epidemic forcing most major cities to lockdown. It was billed as a short-sharp-shock at first. A three-week break to enable science and medicine to beat COVID-19. More than 12 months down the line and many citizens are no nearer a return to normality than they were then.
How we worked changed. How we shopped, spoke to friends and family, celebrated. It was all different. Major sports like Premier League football were played out at empty stadiums with fans watching on TV and live streams. Bets were checked from home at sportsbettingsites.com and placed using mobile apps.
Some things are better left in the past
As civilisation makes its first tentative steps out from the shadows and back into the sunlight, some of the coronaviruses enforced changes will be left behind, becoming little more than stories to tell grandkids, wide-eyed in disbelief. People really stockpiled toilet roll, grandad? You did Zoom quizzes on the weekend. What, for fun? Tell us again, why did Scotland ban music in pubs?
One thing that looks to be here to stay, however, is home working. A few years ago, even the suggestion of working from home while sitting in your pyjamas would have been ridiculed. Even if you could, bosses said it just wasn’t possible. They needed the offices full and ‘troops on the ground’. It took COVID-19 to expose that lie.
After businesses were backed into a corner, told by the government their employees must work from home or the company must cease trading until a vaccine is found, working from the comfort of your own home became a fantastic idea. One the boardroom members always believed was the future.
The advantages are plain to see
When offices and high streets begin to wake from hibernation, it’s likely workers won’t be rushed back onto the city centre’s streets, risking another spike. Instead, they’ll be offered what’s now known as flexible working. And why not. As most of the country’s workforce always said, there are many benefits to working from home.
Here are just a few.
No travel time
The most obvious one. Gone are the hour commute on public transport or sitting in traffic listening to your car radio. The commute to work is now a stumble from the bedroom to your office space. This could be a laptop in bed, computer set-up on the dining table – which has been temporary for months now – or in your custom home office/spare bedroom/one-time gym complete with a dusty exercise bike.
With no commute, you can spend the extra hours working and being more productive. You can also stay late or do overtime as the roads to your sofa are clear. There are no delays, no coming in late, no having to leave early due to weather or the train schedule. It makes perfect sense.
Always at work
If you are working from home, you are, usually at work, regardless of the time of day. Bosses can take advantage of this. Never again will they send an email late in the day and miss you by minutes, leaving that important piece of work in your inbox until the morning. They can now get a hold of you day or night.
You will notice because you are working from home, some think you are working when at home. Do me a quick favour and address this email, please. Quickly post that package while you’re on the school run. Complete that online tutorial tonight in time for the morning. You’d only be watching TV anyway.
For years responsible companies have strived to help their workforce gain an excellent work-life balance. A happier worker is a more productive worker, after all. Homeworking has helped them achieve that. It allows you to manage your time better, and you’re not tied to the office opening hours.
You can start work early then, perhaps, drop out and spend a few hours in the garden or at the park with the kids, then pick up the slack later that night. The 9-5 clock is an antique and where we’re going, we don’t need roads.