1-617-500-6690 [email protected]

Author:  Tara Smylie

In the aftermath of the pandemic and the associated global shutdowns, there’s one thing that we’re still trying to sort out: the workplace. What does it even look like anymore? What is this “working from home” idea all about, and how does it affect employee morale and productivity?

The answers are complex. While 2020 showed us that many positions are adaptable in a pinch, some jobs are more suited to long-term remote execution than others. Here we’ll briefly review the pros and cons of allowing employees to work from home and consider what kinds of positions might be more suited to this ever-more-popular lifestyle.

Work-from-home: when is it the answer?

It’s highly situational. The work-from-home model best suits life science positions that may require occasional meetings but don’t demand constant teamwork. For data analysts or bioinformaticians, for example, it might be possible and even preferable to offer unlimited remote workdays. But for life science positions that involve collaborative design, office management, or HR, full-time work-from-home might not be the right fit.

While some employers have worried that remote work is a recipe for slacking off and sneaking in Netflix episodes on the clock, this is rarely the case. In reality, working remotely can actually lead to an increase in productivity. It’s not so surprising – at home, employees can customize their surroundings to best suit their personal work habits.

Another worry is that remote workers could eventually start to feel less “at home” in their homes – but there’s usually a way around this. More and more, remote employees have been carving out designated work spaces in their homes to maintain a sense of work-life balance. These work-only areas can help employees relax, concentrate, and work more efficiently as a result.

The case for in-person

There’s no true substitute for seeing coworkers face-to-face. Over Zoom, the little everyday conversations that spark connections and build team morale are less likely to happen. Eventually, remote employees might feel that their networks have started to suffer too. This is especially true if they only interact with members of their own department during meetings and projects.

Psychologically speaking, the simple existence of a space dedicated solely to work can help employees feel important and foster a sense of balance between home and work. While home workspaces can achieve this too, not everyone has the same amount of space to create one. Employees who are forced to work and sleep in the same room may find that sense of balance trickier to achieve.

And then we come to the emotional benefits of the office. In the short-term, anyone can see the appeal of working in their pajamas all day. Long-term, though, is it really good for employees’ mental health? Without the social hub of the workplace, some employees might eventually start to feel lonely or isolated.

The hybrid model – is it the future?

The hybrid work model combines the psychological benefits of the office model with the convenience of staying at home when it feels right. With a hybrid workplace, you can conduct some of the more straightforward meetings online, while still avoiding Zoom fatigue. This model also lets your employees spend more time with family and less time on the road.

If you opt for a flexible approach, employees can decide for themselves if they feel like dressing up for the office today, or if they’d rather save their energy for that big meeting coming up on Friday. Employees tend to value their autonomy, so some amount of freedom to choose where they work will likely bode well with them.

Keep in mind that some positions are better suited to the hybrid model than others. Employees whose jobs involve active customer-facing or teamwork sometimes, but more solitary work at other times, are the ideal candidates. Currently, top categories for hybrid job postings include sales, project management, and computers/IT.

The best solution for your team

At this point, one thing seems clear: working from home is here to stay. As an employer, it’s ultimately your decision how much flexibility you allow in this regard. Consider asking your employees how they feel – just opening up the conversation will show them that you value their opinions and prioritize their comfort.

Whether you’re in search of an office superstar or the most diligent remote worker out there, Sci.bio’s recruitment services can help you find the perfect match.

References

  1. 10 Reasons Why You Should Let Your Employees Work From Home
  2. 6 Reasons why a dedicated workspace is a must when working from home
  3. The Benefits Of In-Person Work
  4. Is remote work worse for wellbeing than people think?
  5. Staying Connected In A Zoom World
  6. Forget Flexibility. Your Employees Want Autonomy.
  7. Top 10 Careers & Soft Skills for Hybrid Jobs