Yes or No: Is Permanent Work-from-Home Really as Good as it Sounds?

This new reality where employees can hang out with their dogs and dress in sweats all day is appealing in many ways. As CEOs of big firms such as Twitter and Square announce their plan to allow permanent work-from-home, organizations of all sizes have also been inspired to set foot on this bandwagon.

You might wonder, however: Is working from home really as good as it sounds, or is it just another trend we’ve been temporarily hooked onto?  Twenty years ago – well, even just four months ago – if someone were to suggest working from home forever, it’d only be seen as a laughing matter. After all, we’re looking at something that not many have experienced before; areas of remote work which have yet been explored are still a myth to many. Therefore, if we are to move forward with this so-called ‘new normal’, virtual measures from hiring to managing teams must be taken seriously for it to actually work.

Some Things Are Just Irreplaceable

With the help of all sorts of digital tools and cutting-edge technology, online collaboration doesn’t seem as challenging as many once thought would be. Concerns surrounding the lack of company culture are also put aside now that virtual happy hours and trivia nights are proven effective in most workplaces. Given all the benefits of working from home, this new reality just seems to fit the ideals of modern workers; those who have longed for a more flexible workspace are also getting their wishes fulfilled. So, what’s left to worry about?

Despite the sudden boost in flexibility, there are certain things that can never be replaced – human contact like a pat on the shoulder, the small talk you usually have at the kitchen counters, as well as the subtle interactions that a Zoom conference simply can’t mimic. Missing the opportunities to bond face-to-face with your teammates will lead to a very different experience. If a permanent remote workplace is what your organization truly thinks is the ‘right’ way forward, be prepared to take all kinds of extra effort to make up for these notable losses.

Discover the Ideal Benchmark for WFH

Just because something works for you doesn’t mean it will have the same effect on others. This goes the same with working from home. When looking for candidates to work remotely, whether they’re new hires or existing employees, consider the following:

  • How reactive and flexible are they in challenging situations?
  • Do they prefer routine work or do they like constant change?
  • Are they satisfied with completing individual tasks or are they in need of collaborating with others?
  • How self-driven are they? Would they be effective working alone from home, or do they need proper guidance from their leaders?
  • What is their ideal work scenario? What do they expect from the company?

Not everyone is well-suited for remote work. As a writer myself, working in isolation gives me adequate space for creative thinking. Yet, being a group-oriented individual, I find myself constantly craving immediate feedback from the people I work closely with, which (as I have experienced) isn’t so fulfilling when we’re physically apart. Managers and leaders will frankly suffer the most trying to find a middle ground that satisfies all. But with a proper pre-hiring and team-management tool, it can make the process and transition much less painful.

Permanent or temporary, giving your employees what’s best for them at this moment is what you should be focusing on as a company. The future of work is guaranteed to change anyways; so are people.