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Inside the Work-from-Home Concept Shaking Up American Businesses

The pandemic changed all kinds of things around the country and the world. Some industries look at their supply chains differently now. Logistics are not the only thing that changed, though.

The work-from-home movement was gaining momentum long before Covid-19 showed up, but its arrival supercharged the idea and brought it into the mainstream like never before. Now, many companies who want their employees back in the office don’t find many workers who like the idea.

We’ll talk about each side’s viewpoint in the following article.

How Do the Workers Feel?

From an employee’s standpoint, many benefits appear when they consider working from home and all its implications. For instance, if someone works from home, they needn’t commute. That means fewer cars on the road during rush hour, and it means the employees spend much less on gas money every week.

As a worker, if you can avoid rush hour, especially if you live in a major city, you might like that. You needn’t worry about getting back lost wages after a car accident if that ever occurs. If you’re not a confident driver, you might love the prospect of working remotely. Car accidents seldom happen if you are in your home office or bedroom.

Why Else Do Workers Like the Stay-at-Home Idea?

If you work from home, you needn’t find parking. You can also go into the kitchen and get a snack whenever you want one. You can stay with your pets, who will doubtless enjoy that. If you have a loved one who also works from home, you can have lunch together every day. You can sit and chat about how your day’s going and what you might cook for dinner.

If you have young children who aren’t school-aged yet, you can keep an eye on them while you’re working. That can save you the babysitting or daycare money you’d typically spend. Some individuals put their dogs in daycare while they’re working. They needn’t do that, either.

Also, at-home employees can stop working at five or six, and then they needn’t drive home or take public transportation. That can save an hour or more in the evening. It’s the same in the morning. The commute never happens, so the worker can sleep in for an hour if they like. They clock in at the same time, but they’re better rested and more refreshed.

Why Do Bosses and CEOs Object?

Plenty of company owners and CEOs don’t like this idea much, though. They’re pushing back against it however they can.

For the most part, bosses and company heads feel like they can’t control their workers as much if they can’t physically check on them during the day. They may discuss things like team-building and other concepts that they feel suffer if the employees don’t work together in one centralized location.

Little evidence exists that shows employees do less work if they’re not in a physical office. In fact, if a boss or CEO can monitor an employee’s activities via a system like Slack or one of the many others out there, they can know about a worker’s activities in real-time.

Sometimes, a boss or CEO might talk about morale. They feel it lags if they don’t have employees working together in the same place.

Again, there’s little evidence that supports this theory. The opposite seems true. If someone can work from home, they usually feel more enthusiastic about the business entity and the work they’re doing. In this sense, working from home encourages company loyalty.

Additional Considerations

There’s a wild card in all this. Many real estate companies have gone into panic mode about the work-from-home revolution. That’s because they have acres and acres of office space, and if everyone works from home, they’ll sit unused. They could become worthless.

Of course, nothing says these commercial real estate companies couldn’t repurpose those buildings. Some individuals have mentioned the notion that impoverished or unhoused people could live in these office buildings. They would need some work, since they’re zoned commercial at the moment and set up differently from residential buildings, but the idea continues gaining traction in some circles.

If everyone works from home, or if most people do, then downtown areas of major cities might look completely different. The office spaces, many filled to capacity just a few years previously, would now resemble ghost towns if the commercial real estate companies couldn’t come up with alternate uses.

What Will Come from All This?

Not all employees like the work-from-home concept. Some, just like their bosses and CEOs, feel better when they’re working in an office setting. 

Some people don’t like change, while others like having their work friends around them. They may feel lonely working from home every day. That’s a perspective that some people have, but just as many like spending more time in their houses, where they can work in their PJs and feel more comfortable.

It is not clear whether the work-from-home craze will continue catching fire like it has since the pandemic began. It’s likely a tipping point will arrive when all those who like working from home will find jobs that allow that, while the ones who don’t like it will find companies that discourage this behavior.

Also, some jobs will probably always need in-person work. Think about construction or food service jobs. Unless a time comes when technology can automate these positions, the individuals who do restaurant or construction work must attend in person.

Working from home will probably always have its detractors and supporters. It’s nice that some companies have embraced the idea, though. Those that do will probably find they can reduce overhead because they needn’t rent large office spaces anymore. They can allocate that capital elsewhere.

The furor over working from home will probably die down as the idea takes hold even more. Many companies that allow it may find that it benefits them more than they’re currently imagining or fearing, though.

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