It goes without saying that the phenomenon of working from home (WFH) has taken the world by storm over the last two years. At times it has seemed like one of those things which will stay with us forever, if so many jobs can be done from home, why go back?
Working from home or back in the office flexibility
Over the past few weeks, I have had many conversations with candidates and with those looking to hire, and one way or the other the topic always came up. One might think that it’s as simple as ‘I want to stay home, but my boss wants me in the office’ but I’m starting to hear views I wasn’t expecting, and the variety is both refreshing and uplifting.
I know the word ‘uplifting’ is a hefty one to use in the context of most working days but bear with me. After long periods of working from home over the past two years, many people are beginning to express a real desire, even yearning, to get back into the office.
Maybe there’s a touch of ‘the grass is always greener’ at play here, but the point remains, we humans are social creatures and the atmosphere and community that exists in a workplace is hard to carry home.
Getting the balance right
What about work/life balance? I remember at the outset of the WFH revolution, my Dad told me that he intended to change into his ‘work clothes’ each day from 9am till 5pm. At the time I was at a loss to understand why, barring accidents, I couldn’t see the problem with making like a news anchor and wearing boxers under the desk. I now realise that his move was more about work/life boundaries than external appearances, maintaining an attitude of being ‘at work’ whilst at home isn’t easy. Inevitably those boundaries blur and creep in both directions, it’s worth considering what long term WHF might do to the concept of work/life balance…
On the other side of the coin, WFH allows businesses to tap into an impressive pool of talent and experience which is really underappreciated. With childcare costs going the way they are, not to mention the cost of fuel, the number of parents exiting the full-time workforce is only going to go one way. In this context WFH allows skilled people to continue to contribute and stay connected. With the calibre of candidates that exist in the part-time space, businesses will do well by giving consideration to flexible working in the longer term.
As with all sudden change, one wonders what our collective attitude toward the broad application of the WFH concept will be in 5 years time? Maybe it will be entirely unremarkable, part of ‘The New Normal’ or perhaps we will look back on it with incredulity; using another acronym featuring ‘W’ and ‘F’…
Drop me a line if you want to share your thoughts or chat about the current insurance, financial services, and banking job market.