We are all finally emerging from our homes and makeshift workstations and are returning to the office from fully remote work to hybrid in some capacity. At My TechDecisions, the editorial group has been going to the office two days a week to start. I for one am ecstatic that I now can leave my small office in my house for the large, wide-open office (with actual humans inside!).
On a few of these recent drives to the office, I remembered why I hate driving in metro-Boston: the traffic. Sure, I get to catch up on some podcasts and prepare my brain for work, but I also have to avoid terrible Massachusetts drivers and the long Dunkin’ drive-thru lines that spill out into the street on a busy stretch of road.
So, on the days where I’m working from home, I’ve learned to enjoy the hybrid work flexibility.
As organizations begin to roll out their hybrid working strategies and double down on remote work, the word “flexibility” becomes key, especially as we suddenly realize just how much of a mental toll isolating ourselves from the rest of the world took.
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I argue that what we did last year and for the first half of this year was not remote work. It was quarantine. Yes, we worked remotely, but we did not have a choice. In fact, we were forced to stay inside and we were constantly reminded of work whenever we walked by our company-issued laptop sitting on the kitchen table. There was no flexibility involved.
According to an October 2020 study from TELUS International of 1,000 American workers, 80% find it hard to “shut off” after working, more than half have taken a mental health day since they started working from home due to the pandemic, half say their sleep patterns have been interrupted due to quarantine and 97% say they need vacation days to recharge while at home.
Imagine never being able to leave the office. That’s what we did in 2020, and that was not remote work. That was quarantine.
Remote work means having the ability to work out of one’s home and grab a slice from the local pizza place and then log off around 5 p.m. and hit the gym. It doesn’t mean you’re locked in your home during the worst global health crisis we’ve seen in years.
For organizations supporting a hybrid work model, make sure flexibility is a cornerstone of your remote work policy. We all want to put 2020 behind us.