Thomas: For better or worse, the working from home era is coming

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Like it or not, COVID-19 is ushering in the age of ‘so called’ age of convenience.

When the pandemic initially hit, businesses who were able transitioned their employees to working from home to help lower the curve. Initially, people did not think much about the long term. In fairness, nobody had any idea what the next 15 months and counting had in store.

In the beginning, the prospect of a break from daily trips to the office, being able to roll out of bed and get straight to work, and having the living room become the workspace was exciting. Personally, there had already been aspects of my job which were completed at home. It did not feel like a huge change.

For some, it was not. Many transitioned easily into working from a space they were more comfortable with.

Others have not had it so easy. I can personally say getting work done becomes increasingly difficult after 6:30 a.m. when the first of my three daughters wakes up. By the time the kids have been woken, cleaned up, fed, and the oldest is sent off to school, I’m lucky if I have been able to check my work emails. Because there is no office space in our home, it has become imperative to master the skill of listening to council, or writing, while listening to all of the chaos my four and one year old daughters can create.


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Even in the absence of children, there is no denying there is enough distraction around the home to at the very least have an impact on a person’s efficiency. Those who are starting to feel like their work life and home life are endlessly blending, may be hoping for a return to the office sooner than later.

A person’s position within their company could also play a part in their opinion on the matter. Take any newsroom in the world, for example. Most reporters will love the idea of doing all of their non live event coverage from the comfort of their couches.

Editors who previously relied on face to face interactions with their teams to run operations efficiently probably are not excited about having to separately co-ordinate multiple times daily with their teams. The same truth extends far beyond the media industry. Fostering a cohesive unit becomes more difficult for any manager who must co-ordinate virtually with their team members multiple times a day to simply be in the know.

When it comes to the working class, whether or not working from home is ideal will vary based on personal circumstance.

Businesses who are implementing this, however, are not on the fence. It doesn’t take a math whiz to understand it will save companies money if they can have their employees complete the same workload at their homes as they do at the office. It took all of three seconds for the world to prove it could adapt to a virtual business model.

Municipalities, as close as right here at home in Spruce Grove, have pushed ahead agenda items such as broadband initiatives in an effort to prepare for an influx in digital infrastructure. The City of Spruce Grove along with a handful of other municipalities also opted to update their electronic meeting management capabilities.


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To be clear, there are plenty of industries in which employees cannot possibly work from home. Those in retail have not been so lucky as to operate from home. Many businesses have had to reduce staffed hours due to a reduction in capacity. There will also always be the need for skilled trades workers as well.

It took businesses who were able to do so all of three seconds to figure out it was possible and cost efficient to have employees work from home, before they knew nearly half of their employees actually wanted to work from home. It is hard to believe when the dust settles on the pandemic, companies will want to go back to paying for office space, when they know the same work will get done with their employees working from their own homes.

For some, it’s a blessing, for others, a curse, but like it or not, the writing is on the screen.. The world is entering the next stage of the digital age.

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