So much has changed in the last year from the way we shop to the way we socialize to the workplace culture. Most employees worked from home for at least 6-12 months in the last year and some are still working from home full time, which has changed the dynamics of the workplace culture. At first, it was a bumpy learning curve, now everyone has perfected where to look at the zoom camera and how to look perfectly put together with the least amount of effort. The future is forever changed in the workplace and workplace culture dynamics have shifted.
The Future of the Workplace & Workplace Culture
A lot of companies have learned that when push comes to shove most employees are more than capable of doing their job at home with more flexibility than ever before. For most that is a perk, being able to have more flexibility in our day-to-day job means more flexibility in our daily lives, no longer are we tied to leaving the house before 8 and coming back after 5 every day. Studies have shown that those who work from home have a higher income, education level, are more productive (up to 77% more!), plus have overall better health, a plus for the workplace culture.
As companies are going back to work there is no one size fits all solution, a lot of companies have made the decision to resume work in-person full-time. Although a lot of those employees are not on board with resuming the office standard “9-5” workplace culture, especially since virtual meetings have changed the way a lot of business is conducted. Globally the majority of companies do offer some type of remote work schedule. There are also companies that due to the nature of the business never stopped going into the office so it has been the status quo for them and their workplace culture is stronger than ever.
In the past year, companies have realized that the new workplace culture is best with a happy medium. Employees, supervisors, and bosses alike thrive being able to come together and meet at scheduled times. Bosses have realized that the best employees are going to get their work done no matter what and will even put in more work hours when at home. At the same time, the best ideas, creativity, and solutions often come together more seamlessly with everyone in the same space sharing their ideas and minds together. Plus there is something to be said about workplace culture and the chatter around the water cooler.
Expectations vs. Reality
Being able to work from home has a lot of perks-saving money on gas, no commute time, being able to stay in your PJs if you want, and throwing in a load of laundry mid-day. Except most likely that also means powering up your computer before 7 am, checking emails, and responding on the weekends because that is what everyone else is doing and working even after you pour yourself a glass of wine at the end of the day because it’s easier now than ever before to work late.
The workplace culture of the past of checking emails early and late on your smartphone is long gone. Now it is working even earlier and later; studies have shown that people work 2.5 hours more now while working remotely than before. On the flip side, employees have also saved time and money by not attending in-person meetings and driving to said meetings, so they are getting more work done during the normal workday. It really is learning a new balance in a work world that has never existed before. Companies are loving the productivity and flexibility that is promoting a workplace culture to thrive and at the same time being able to easily identify those that are not producing.
Working from home or having a flexible schedule can create a very unbalanced work life. The majority of people did not have a home office at the beginning of last year and in a pinch created a workspace that was a good temporary solution. Now, over a year later, most realize that a temporary fix in a pinch, is not a long-term solution, especially as companies are opening their office doors again and most have scaled back their office space realizing that it is better for everyone to have a hybrid solution. Most employees are willing to give up the workplace culture they are used to for a hybrid work schedule.
How to Create The Work/Life Balance You Need and Want
Working from home means more flexibility, being able to walk the dog at 10 am, start dinner early, or have a mid-day yoga break. It also means having your work all over your home. The bedroom to the dining room table are the most common at home work locations, but that also means that you can work anywhere whether at home, a coffee shop, or even on the road for a mini getaway. If you struggle to find the right balance you are not alone, 29% of remote employees say they struggle to find a good balance. Overall there are more perks to working from home than not, it is just a matter of figuring out what works best for you.
Even if you have been working from home for over a year, there is no time like the present to set boundaries. Start small, if you are returning emails at all hours, choose when you want to start logging on to your computer to respond to emails. If you have email on your phone but are at your office all day and it is not required, turn it off on your phone, so you don’t get constantly bombarded. Take a lunch break, even if you don’t eat lunch, use the time to take a walk, play with your dog or do something that you actually want to do, and reset your work mindset.
Track your hours one week and see how much you are actually working, as most remote employees work at least 2.5 hours more a week. Then set a schedule at home to make sure you are not working non-stop all of the time. This is not something you have to share with others at the office, it’s just for your knowledge to set boundaries for yourself. Also, if it is helpful to not get distracted, only check emails a few times a day, close that bbrowser window and use that time to work on projects, and focus on checking items off your to-do list, instead of responding to emails every time they pop up.
Read More: Going Back to School: 16 Meal Prep & Home Organization Items to Get Families Out the Door
At the end of the day, a flexible schedule is ideal for employees and companies as well as the bottom line. All around it is a win! Workplace culture may not be the same, but that does not mean it is lost forever. With hybrid schedules, workplace instant messaging and virtual meetups, the future of workplace culture is bright.
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