Blog by Aliaksei Belski

A tale of working from home

Published: May 12th, 2020, Updated: June 14th, 2020remote-work

A tale of working from home

"Once upon a time, in the world where people could travel all around without any limits, lived a guy who was addicted to working from office: it was an essential and simple decision, which made him productive enough while allowing him being in the middle of project life. Any decisions could have easily been made after 5–10 minutes discussion, and seeing everyone in the office gave him confidence that everything is on track.

He did not realize himself being productive at home and did not believe people who wanted to work from home for some reason: by his opinion, "they cheated, highly likely", and all he expected to see is 30–50% of usual work.

And he was thinking same until that day in the middle of March, when…"

Hold on, hold on.

It’s supposed to be a kind story about a guy, who changed his mind after spending 7 weeks while working from home, right? Let’s make it less obvious.

The world is changing, but no one really expected to force speed of migration to remote work so dramatically fast. Earlier Stanford University was impressed by staggering results of their 2-year experiment, and companies increased amount of people working remote. All this data make this trend quite inspiring.

% of Americans working remotely Source: Quartz

What can I say, my wife told me recently that two remove working days 3 weeks ago were “the most productive days this year”. No more Belarusian statistics available, though.

However, during this coronavirus outbreak, we need to distinguish cases of working from home on by circumstances versus by nature, and this is why:

  • Workplace. It’s good if you’re sitting in an armchair and not on a sofa, otherwise, you’re about to get pain in a neck soon. It’s also perfect if you have a working station (powerful enough) and stable internet connection too, otherwise, your work may look more like torture.
  • Disruptions. People who are procrastinators (like me), always seek a way of how to postpone important, but least attractive things. Without proper motivation, the risk of failure may be pretty high. Also, your relatives probably still not ready to see you working during the day and will disrupt you in critical moments (however, this happens in an office all the time, never mind).
  • Business communication. Some things just can’t be solved by remote call (meet your customer/contractor and establish a contact).
  • Remote work is not for everyone. No comments needed here, I believe.

There are positive things though. If you never had the possibility to try working remotely, you might be surprised, why didn’t you do this before. “More productive at home” is the top-4 reasons why people want to work from home, according to Zapier’s last year research (as many other reasons, like saving time and money).

Top 5 Reasons People Want to Work Remote Source: Zapier

According to FlexJobs statistics, 80% of respondents found that working remotely produces less stress at work. This sounds like a true, so in this case, all you need is to convince your colleagues to avoid audio/video calls without a strong reason.

Looking at my own experience, some people also love to work at home because at work they don’t have their own space to focus on details (just because “open space” doesn’t count).

Ok, but let’s imagine working in 2023!

Of course, this is hard to judge. Some of us may think that in a couple of months our employers will invite us back to our office places and everything returns to its course. I personally think that some entrepreneurs will propose options to keep things as they are already, just because of counting money and already having positive experience. On the other hand, for some of us, it’s a great opportunity to become more flexible. Hopefully, 5G expansion will tremendously help to have a fast connection in any place (but supposedly not in Britain, according to the latest news).

On the average, we’ll see more “hybrid” vacations, when it’s enough you to be in office 2–3 days / week, and a desk in the office becomes a thing available to book (on-demand, as we usually do with meeting rooms these days).

And, believe me, some people won’t continue to work from home due to their personal reasons and habits, stressing out that one outbreak is not enough to get rid of huge offices.