A father and son work work at a kitchen table with text overlaid: Taking stock of the work-from-home life. Working from home since the pandemic hit has presented challenges to productivity, communication, and daily structure. But it’s also offered many advantages.

In this post, we’ll assess the work-from-home balance sheet, examining the shifts teleworking has brought to management styles, workflows, and lifestyles.

What does the future of working from home look like? Is it here to stay? Keep reading to find out!

The Commute vs. The Telecommute

One of the first things that happened during the mass office exodus of 2020 was the elimination of the commute.

Most of us have gained two or more hours by foregoing the commute every workday. Since we aren’t cramming on the metro or stuck in traffic, we’ve found new ways to spend our extra hours per week. Many hobbies were picked up (and dropped), many naps were taken, and for some reason we all got really into the idea of making sourdough bread.

Our offices went from being a few subway stations away to being a few steps away from our beds.

But did all of this have a positive or negative effect on how we work?

Communication was the first hurdle.

Communication with Coworkers

At-work communication has changed significantly since we set up our home workstations.

A report by Nextiva revealed that, for the most part, humans still prefer face-to-face communication to video conferencing—and it’s not hard to see why.

Though some of us have grown accustomed to patting our bedhead down right before the Teams meeting, many have experienced significant downsides in coworker communication. We lose a big chunk of effective communication by communicating via instant message and videochat

Modern psychology tells us non-verbal communication is just as important as verbal communication, if not more. According to psychologist Albert Mehrabian, communication is 7% verbal and 93% non-verbal (55% body language, 38% tone of voice).

To be sure, videochat’s an invaluable tool that lets us communicate with anyone anywhere. But poor video quality and delay can make it hard to pick up on those non-verbal cues and gestures we rely on to communicate in person.

Productivity and Performance

One of the major concerns most company’s had at the onset of the WFH transition was the loss of productivity. For some, working from home has actually improved their overall performance and motivation, but how many? The results may shock you.

Connect Solutions found that 77% of WFH employees reported increased productivity and 30% accomplished more in less time while 24% accomplished more in the same amount of time.

Likewise, a study at Stanford examined 16,000 workers and found that, over 9 months, working from home improved increased productivity by up to 13%. Overall, workers were more efficient, provided better service, and took fewer sick days.

Changes in Management

With management less able to keep an eye on their teams, and the traditionally strict office timeline out the window, keeping people motivated has become a challenge.

When an employee loses motivation on a project, working from home has made it difficult to give necessary guidance—and to notice it. It’s more difficult for managers to operate when they cannot directly oversee what their employees are doing. Our advice? Keep a log or agenda of your work by using programs such as Monday and encourage weekly check-ins to monitor project development.

Onboarding new staff and integrating them into company culture has presented further communication challenges as well. Create an engaging onboarding process and ensure that new staff has adequate training manuals and resources at their disposal. It makes a great first impression and staff that feel supported from day one are more likely to excel in their position and adopt company culture with pride.

What Does the Future of Working from Home Look Like?

The pandemic has busted a lot of hypothetical myths that were in the WFH discussion before the lockdown.

Companies found they could pay less overhead, employees were calling in sick less, and productivity and profit increased in many cases.

So, it looks like working from home is here to stay.

As everything opens back up in the big cities, and the offices too, things will have some semblance of normalcy again. But with 69% of millennials claiming that they would give up benefits to have a more flexible workspace, the future of work looks like it will be a mixture of going to the office and working from home.

The “new normal” will take some getting used to, and the flexible office model does present some challenges. But perhaps being able to accommodate the schedules of everyone will lead to higher job satisfaction for all in the future.
The work-from-home life has its fair share of challenges. But you can’t deny the perks. Ditching the commute, not having to pack a lunch, working at your own pace—it all adds up to a much more livable, enjoyable work experience.

As a fully remote digital marketing company, LinkNow’s always on the lookout for top talent to join its growing team. If you’re looking for a full-time position where you can work from the comfort of your home, check out our Jobs page to see what opportunities are currently available.