Work From Home Is Never Ending

The new face of work

What started with a mandatory shutdown and stay at home order to keep people safe from COVID-19 has now changed work forever.

For many companies and jobs the remote work, work from home or work from anywhere, however you want to label it has become the new way of work.

The Zoom meeting fatigue that we were all hit with for much of 2020 has now become a customary way of conducting a certain amount of work whether you’re working remotely or even back in your offices. We all thought when we returned, we would never have to get on another Zoom call. Well, we were all wrong! Its stuck like bubble gum to the bottom of your shoe.

It’s great to see people in person and conducting business over dinner again. But the full transition away from Zoom or Teams meetings will never happen. It allows a way to substitute for certain in person meetings. There are three advantages companies realized with using virtual vs in person meetings.

  • Speed

  • Convenience

  • Savings

What companies didn’t expect is that something that many thought would be temporary, has turned into a full blown change in the way people look and think about work.

This has caused a drastic shift and now companies are struggling to get their workers back in the offices. They really shouldn’t be surprised by this.

On Friday, CNBC had a great story on CEOs being frustrated and not knowing how to get their workers back in the office.

“I continue to hear a litany of frustration from those who run large organizations in terms of their inability to get people back in the office,” Faber said Friday in an exchange with his “Squawk on the Street” co-host Cramer. “I had a lunch and a dinner last night,” Faber said. “It’s just a never-ending theme. Some of these CEOs are at their wits’ end as how they deal with it. ‘How do I get people back in.”

Many large companies have postponed their return to the offices. Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff acknowledged what he sees with his company’s plans moving forward.

Salesforce co-founder and CEO Marc Benioff said Tuesday, “We’re not all going back” to the office. CEOs of large companies call him and say they want their employees to return to the office, Benioff said, in an on-stage interview at the Code Conference in Beverly Hills, California. Benioff previously told CNBC he expects 50% to 60% of Salesforce employees to work from home even after the pandemic.

Also on Friday, PwC (PricewaterhouseCoopers) announced it will allow all U.S. employees who can work remotely the ability to do so from anywhere within the U.S. moving forward. This amounts to 40,000 of their 55,000 employees.

Many of the largest companies in the world (Apple, Amazon, Google and Microsoft) have postponed their return to office plans until at least early 2022.

Early 2022 will mark exactly two years of people working remotely. And it will likely be pushed back further.

What’s Driving The Change?

Not every job can be done remotely and not everyone has the luxury of working from home. This has caused some animosity in people who are not able to work from home towards the people in positions who are able to.

With working from home going on two years for many, the benefits and reasons why it’s grown to be loved are well written about. If you come across anyone who has shifted to working from home full time most will surely tell you how much they love it.

This causes one of the more common social anxieties in society to kick in, FOMO. What is FOMO?

The fear of missing out refers to the feeling or perception that others are having more fun, living better lives, or experiencing better things than you are. It involves a deep sense of envy and affects self-esteem. It is often exacerbated by social media sites like Instagram and Facebook.

Those who got a taste of working from home may have seen a better quality of life. If broken down, the positives for an employee will usually always outweigh the negatives.

For many the preferred luxury model is a hybrid remote work model. Where they can go into the office a couple days a week to meet clients and conduct any in person meetings. Then the other days work from home and have the ability to schedule their family and personal activities around those remote work days. It provides the best of both worlds.

After speaking with people who have transitioned to a full or hybrid remote work model they’ve shared these points with me.

  • No more commuting. For many this used to take up hours of their day.

  • Allows them to be able to attend all of their children’s events.

  • More family time. Improving their overall quality of personal life.

  • Savings on driving, gas, wear and tear on their vehicles.

  • The days of that coworker(s) that drove you nuts in the office, are no more.

  • They’ve realized this allows them to work for most companies in the country. You no longer have to work in a certain place to work for a certain company.

  • Some have taken less money to be able to work from home.

As I was putting this together I received an email from Packy McCormick. Packy writes a very successful Substack called Not Boring. In his Monday piece entitled Dad Life, he details the past year since his child was born. He wrote it on his son’s one year birthday and has a section in it that speaks directly to my points above.

“Even when I’m working every day, I get to wake up with Dev in the morning, take him for a walk, pop downstairs and hang out between meetings and calls. If he takes a step or says a word, I can drop what I’m doing and go see it for myself. We get to hang out as a family every day. I get to give him a bath and put him to bed every night. That wouldn’t have happened if we weren’t working from home, or if I weren’t working for myself.”

The advances in technology have made remote work possible. As people were forced to work from home, companies were forced to make it work so their businesses could continue operating. The systems and technologies were improved upon and perfected. Now we have convenient and productive remote working models that work just as good as being in the office. How do companies reverse course and say we’re stopping this even though it works and you enjoy it? That’s a tough sell to employees and now companies are realizing it.

Companies providing remote work capabilities are well aware of this appeal and know that they can now hire and attract talent from anywhere in the country. With over 11 million jobs available and the largest, most powerful companies are adapting to remote work. It’s making the job switches easier for people who are not receiving the work schedule that they want from their current employer.

New habits and routines have been established. If people like their new habits and routines better than how they were before, why would they change back to the old way? Once you experience a quality of life that you like better, why would you change it? They gave you a taste and you love that flavor.

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