After the COVID-19 pandemic, work-life balance culture is here to stay. Many businesses are instituting back-to-work policies, but that doesn't mean employees will be returning to the office anytime soon. Remote work has become an increasingly popular option for companies and their employees alike—not just because it allows workers to take care of their families without having to worry about transportation or access to public places, but because working remotely also been shown to improve job satisfaction, mental health, and productivity. However, with this new reality comes a need for organizations and individuals alike to not only accept this new working environment but embrace it fully as well. To truly thrive in today's world, we must learn how best to communicate and collaborate with one another regardless of where we live or work.
Even though many offices are instituting back-to-work policies following the pandemic, remote working arrangements are still preferred by employees who prioritize work-life balance and a vibrant personal life.
Even though many offices are instituting back-to-work policies following the pandemic, remote work is still preferred by employees who prioritize work-life balance. Employees are able to be self-directed and choose their own focus and working hours if they’re allowed to work at home. They don’t have to worry about a micromanaging boss or being stuck in meetings when they could be spending time with family or focusing on their well being.
For employers, remote work arrangements save money on office space and reduces company overhead costs for amenities such as lunches, coffee breaks, etc. Additionally, working from home allows employers to attract high performers and working parents who might otherwise not apply because of concerns about how much time they would spend commuting every day, or how their personal life might be negatively affected if hired full time.
We're not alone in our love of flexible working hours.
Remote working is not just for freelancers, remote workers, and entrepreneurs. It’s also a viable option for full-time employees who don’t want to be tied down by an office or commute. We discovered during the pandemic that most knowledge workers can capably do their jobs outside of an office space.
And many working parents appreciate the ability to work multiple jobs on a part-time basis to create a work life that fully enables them to prioritize family life and be with their children during their early stages of development. This isn’t just work-life balance, it’s life balance: how we show up as working moms and dads, children of elderly parents, and community members.
Our fixation on perceived success as a byproduct of factors like employment status and living in specific locations might be holding us back as a society.
The COVID-19 pandemic forced companies to adopt new workplace practices like flexible working hours. The shift away from physical presence and where employees work exposed the lengths we go to achieve success, and our fixation on perceived success as a byproduct of factors like job performance, employment status, and living in specific locations. Is work-life imbalance holding us back as a society?
To define success, we must first understand what it isn’t: relative or temporary status. It’s not about getting that promotion at work—or even working for a certain employer or in a specific work environment. It’s not getting married; it's not achieving financial independence or paying off your mortgage; and it's not owning a home in the “right” neighborhood (or any neighborhood for that matter). Success is living an authentic life where you create a positive impact and add value to yourself and others without compromising who you are.
Defining success post-pandemic now includes elements like:
- health and wellness (physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual)
- connection with loved ones
- freedom of choice when it comes to how one spends their time, including paid work
- passion-driven, meaningful pursuits outside of work hours (whether paid or volunteer)
- healthy relationships with friends, family members, and co-workers
- overall contentment with one's circumstances, including professional responsibilities
The pandemic has accelerated existing business trends, like the expectation gap between leadership and remote workers.
In a world where communication technologies have made it easy to connect and collaborate with people around the globe, employees have more options than ever. This has created a greater expectation gap between leadership and employees – many workers expect flexibility and freedom, while leaders may be inclined to maintain the status quo.
The pandemic has accelerated this trend by giving employees even more reason not to stay at one organization for their entire career: remote work opportunities are now more prevalent than ever before, allowing employees who don’t want or can't physically travel for work an opportunity for flexible work schedules and reduced work commitments.
It's important for leaders in business today to evolve with these new expectations from both themselves and their teams; this way we can all keep moving forward together no matter what happens from here on out!
Post-pandemic, WFH will continue to be the norm.
As many of us have experienced, working from home (WFH) is a growing trend. It’s not just for the millennials anymore. As individuals, we are becoming increasingly connected to technology and more aware of our work-life balance, so WFH is becoming a default expectation for many employees in today’s world.
But why haven’t companies embraced WFH? We often hear about how important it is to encourage remote workers because it can improve employee engagement and productivity long-term. However, there are still many organizations that don’t allow their teams to work remotely—and those who do often fear losing control over their employees if they allow them this freedom.
In light of these factors and others, what does the future hold for human resources and work-life balance in general?
This isn't a temporary shift. And if we embrace it, WFH can help us create a better way to work, live, and play.
It's no secret that we're in a major shift as a society. The way we work and live is changing, and it's not going to stop anytime soon. With the addition of artificial intelligence and similar exponential technologies, we're just getting started.
Our workplaces are becoming increasingly flexible—and for good reason: workers report being happier and more productive when they have flexibility in their schedules. With an increased number of people working remotely or from home, the labor market has changed. Companies are finding success by offering WFH programs that allow employees to choose where and when they work based on their individual needs at the time. This type of program allows people who want more work-life balance and flexible work arrangements to feel less stressed out about their jobs (as well as give them more free time outside the office).
We’ve already seen the benefits of remote working. It boosts productivity, it reduces stress and burnout, and it provides employees with a better work-life balance. And while this trend will likely continue in the post-pandemic world, it won’t happen on its own. We need to embrace these changes if they are going to benefit all of us—not just those lucky enough to Already work from home full time.