Sunday, September 5, 2021

Working From Home - It Has Been Done Before for Many Years Before COVID and Companies Should Get Used To It

 Source:  Live Science.

A majority of us enjoy working from home since we have had a taste of what that is like since the pandemic in the last eighteen months and counting.  We have had a taste of what work life can be if we do not have to go into the office five days a week, or even four.  An even larger majority like the option to work from continue to work from home or at least have that option available to us. It's time companies come to this realization because this was not the first time since workers have had the technology to telecommute.  

Yes, before working from home was working from home, there was telecommuting. It was offered in most special circumstances. My friend's wife had been working with a firm from Los Angeles where she started a few years after college and remained for nearly twenty years while working from various cities as they moved around from the West Coast to the Midwest and then up the Pacific Northwest.

And let us not forget a various of freelance jobs that are offered to consultants and freelance workers who have been able to work more easily remotely as technology for telecommuting has gotten better. If the COVID pandemic had happened back before the Internet, it would have been much more devastating and creating an even greater public health crisis all over the world.

The difference between telecommuting in the past and the COVID-created "work from anywhere" phenomenon is the number of workers who have participated and continue to work remotely because of the current pandemic. Previously, a worker likely would need to have a unique skill set and special circumstances to request for telecommuting and be granted it. Today, as COVID continue to rage with new variants, especially among those who have not been vaccinated, WFA is especially crucial to workers who wish to remain healthy whether they are vaccinated or not. Companies should recognize this fundamental aspect of a worker's health before any policy change to revert back to requiring workers return to the office.

Most recently, Apple had a change of heart after months of expecting workers to return to their cubicles and offices in September and has pushed the deadline back to 2022 with no hard date given the uncertainty  and pandemic is posing to businesses and employees. 

Companies need to make sure that worker health is paramount and above the need for maximizing profit. I have been back in the office for nearly three months but most of us are isolated from each over and have adequate distancing and air circulation. However, I cannot say that is the same for everyone else. Employees continue to get COVID without policies to send workers home like they did a year ago and only ask (not require) employees be tested once is is known that someone they work with was infected. No longer are employees automatically quarantine like before. And this is not due to a change in policy by the CDC but rather it shows that employers are no longer taking the pandemic seriously.

Delta variant of the COVID has dominated the conversation but a new one, Mu, is the one to watch as it has shown that it is just as infectious and has shown natural immunity against antibodies and vaccines. It is not the time let up and force workers back to the offices. Companies like Apple, Google, and others that have either build new campuses or rented office spaces in expensive downtown real estates should not let such costs factor into asking employees to return. What happens is that employees who can work remotely and safely continue to be just as productive as before. And employers, both small and large, need to innovate and adapt to changing environments and needs of the workforce and be open to employees never returning to the office.

I hope everyone is having a good Labor Day weekend and when Tuesday comes around, you're working safely at home, outdoor, anywhere you choose being just as productive and worth every dollar your company pays you. And most importantly, you're healthy and safe.

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