I was the first hire at my company and from the very start, we baked remote-working into our working practices. Until Lockdown was announced, we worked 2-3 days a week remotely so switching to 5 days-a-week was an easy switch to make.
Now offices are slowly opening up again, discussions have begun as to what we do. Do we go back to how we worked before (when we can, that is) or do we shift to working as we currently are and make it the new default?
Personally, I'm all for working remotely full-time (with keep-in-touch style days in person dotted throughout the calendar). A lot of people struggle with it but I love it. And here's why...
On the days where I was going to the office, I was driving ~25 miles in rush-hour traffic. Often crawling at a snail's pace for a lot of the journey. I estimate on an "in the office day", I spent about 3 hours driving. Doing that 3 times a week is roughly 9 hours doing nothing but sitting a burning petrol.
Not having to commute to/from work saves me time and money, not to mention the environmental benefits of not driving every day long distances almost every day.
Feeling less tired
Linked with not having to commute, I feel less tired. Of course, we have a 7-month old who refuses to sleep regular hours so we're always tired. But, just the simple fact that when I finish work, I can shut my laptop, close the door to our home office and boom! I'm at home. No 1-2 hours of driving home, using cognitive energy constantly watching out of people cutting you up on the motorway.
Before, I'd get home from being in the office somewhere between 6:30-7pm and I'd be completely drained, ready to head to bed. Now, I don't feel like that at all really (unless we've had a bad nights sleep, that is)
More time with the family
Linked again to the previous points, having more time and energy means I get to spend more time at home with the family. If the weather is nice, we can go out and play in the garden or chill out with a film. Work/life balance is much better now.
Less money spent on snacks and food
I used to be pretty good at taking food from home when working in the office but some sandwiches get pretty boring after a while so the temptation to just nip to Greggs for a pasty or grab some snacks from the vending machine was sometimes too great.
Spread that out over a month and you're spending plenty of money that you don't need to.
I don't think I eat more or less than before, but I'm certainly not spending money on top of the money we've already spent at the supermarket.
The lockdown has shown that people can change their habits which will reduce fuel emissions and I think companies are perhaps now realising they can facilitate that, while saving money on paying for office space.
While I don't claim to understand the knock-on effects of large swathes of office buildings suddenly becoming empty or new offices not being built, long-term benefits of fewer people commuting every day will make any short-term pain worth it.
Remote working will likely become the new norm and I'm all for it.