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The Economic Impact of Work from Home


Unprecedented, remote, hybrid, work-from-home – we’ve all learned many terms that we were either unfamiliar with or hadn’t used as regularly as we do now - before the pandemic struck. Along with the new words, we learned another important thing, we learned how to live another way. You see, until push came to shove, we were all accustomed to living the way we were taught, the way we had seen the generations before us live life. Never once imagining that there could be something different.


For better or for worse? Or at the very least an improvement…  For conversation’s sake, let’s consider them all, shall we? What is an employee, if not a person first?


There are two sides to every story and even more to a person. And the regular 9-5 routine had us forgetting exactly that.


Now, don’t get us wrong.


Are we saying that our previous way of working was bad?


Not at all.


But you have to admit, ‘seeing’ the person beyond the employee badge or ID number is pretty refreshing, isn’t it?


There are a lot of perks that working from home has bestowed upon us. From simply rolling over with a minute to spare and logging in to being able to spend more time with loved ones, it has allowed us to pay due respect to the parts of us that were otherwise invisible, in a world that glamorised the hustle over everything else.


But is that all there is to it? Of course not. 


If there’s anything that the new normal has affected as much as our well-being, it’s our wallets, and no one can deny that. As the commuting expenses start to dissipate, so do the otherwise ‘necessary’ (and now not-so-much) coffee and takeout runs. So naturally, one would assume that in terms of saving some $$$, working-from-home is the obvious win. Even in terms of time, the common man went from travelling nearly 2 extra hours to using that extra time towards their personal lives, i.e. their hobbies or to even simply catch up on some more sleep.


But like with all good things, there are a few cons here too.


Namely, we can’t ignore the fact that while we might be saving time and money with no commute, turning our work-from-home situation into the ideal replacement for the office takes quite a lot too. Given how much more we’re now working online, the electricity bills tend to run higher than before. Setting up wi-fi that has enough strength to cover those 10 AM Monday morning meetings, because who wants to say ‘Am I audible?’ more than once, really. And ultimately, does work ever really end when you’re WFH? With overtime becoming a comfortable ‘it’s fine’ and household chores demanding our attention as well, lines tend to blur significantly.


But maybe that’s just what happens when life and work transpire so closely together. The situation really begs the question, is this the reality of the work-life balance we’ve been after all along?


Our Business is ‘OUR’ Business (It really is)


From a strategic perspective, the most obvious pro would be the cost-saving that inevitably follows the transition to remote work. Reduced overhead, maintenance and other office-space-related costs allow for a window of opportunity to redirect this new cash flow closer to home. And by that we mean, towards the people behind the company.


After all, building a healthy work culture without in-person interaction is quite the feat. And given the many factors that come to play for the right kind, there’s a lot to consider.


What does the work world look like without impromptu catch-ups and coffee breaks with your favourite coworkers?

How do we build bonds where camaraderie takes precedence without physical proximity?

How do we understand how happy and fulfilled our teams truly are?

The fact is, the culture still exists, regardless of the setting your company is currently working in, be it hybrid or remote. Now, making sure your people feel seen and connected, may at first blush seem impossible but really all it needs is a little more effort. Organising regular check-ins, opening lines of communication and providing flexibility where possible and appropriate, are just a few ways to tackle the gaps between the team. And if you still need a hand to facilitate any of this, we’ve got a few tricks up our sleeves.

There’s more to what meets the eye than what happens beyond the screen 


It may not always seem like it and on a particularly heavy day it is easy to forget but, there is in fact a whole world beyond your laptop. This is why it’s important to remember that the new normal didn’t just reshape our way of work-life. It also extended the very same courtesy to the sectors around us. That’s the beauty of being a part of a larger economy – you’re not always aware of the part you play but a part you most certainly do.


Take commercial real estate for example, buildings that were once bustling with people now have dwindling occupancy due to reduced demand. And that’s not even the bigger part of it.


Apart from property owners, the livelihood of construction and maintenance workers get crucially affected by this shift too. Even the transportation sector saw a decline as fewer commuters use public transportation, impacting revenue and thus, infrastructure planning immensely. 


As implied above, we truly are all interconnected. So, whether the conversation is about WFH, WFO OR WFA, there aren’t just two parties involved. All of us are. 


And maybe, the new normal will help us build a better way forward remembering this fact.

 

Psst! This blog was made with💚 and created after some thought by a real person.#NoGenerativeAI

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