Does Remote Work Have a Future?By Andrea Villar | Thu, 10/08/2020 - 14:33
Overnight, many people around the world had to go home and work remotely. For some, this transition was easy. For others, it still involves a great deal of effort, as their work is not fully supported by the industry in which they are employed or simply because their current housing conditions do not allow them to work adequately. Will remote work really be a long-term trend? While some experts argue that this wave will encourage inequality, others believe that at least in the medium term, home office is here to stay.
Seven months into the pandemic, companies that previously favored working from home for reasons other than healthcare now realize that the cons may weigh more heavily in the balance after all. An example of the disadvantages is online meetings. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella told WSJ on Tuesday that this work routine exhausts employees and makes it difficult for them to adopt a work mindset. “When you are working from home, it sometimes feels like you are sleeping at work,” he said. “Thirty minutes into your first video meeting in the morning, because of the concentration one needs to have in video, and you are fatigued.”
‘Ticking Bomb for Inequality’
If you are a writer, programmer, designer, a marketing person, a financial manager or even a sales agent, the transition to home office probably was not that difficult. For other professions and industries, such as agriculture, manufacturing, mining or automotive, it has been more difficult to embrace this new scheme. According to the report ‘How Many Jobs Can be Done at Home?’ by economists Jonathan Dingel and Brent Neiman, the economic impact of the pandemic could be quite uneven, severely affecting some industries and regions while leaving others almost unharmed. In Mexico, fewer than 25 percent of jobs can be performed at home, the report states.
The physical space where employees work also has an impact on productivity. In a building with natural light and lighting, productivity increases by 23 percent, while air quality can boost it by 8 to 11 percent. Likewise, thermal control improves productivity by 3 percent while a noisy workplace reduces performance by 66 percent, reports the Journal of Experimental Psychology Applied.
In Mexico, 97 percent of employees support working from home on a permanent basis, according to a survey by PwC Mexico conducted in August. Of this percentage, 30 percent prefer this working scheme three times a week. This is in contrast to the analysis ‘The Wellness Movement, Wellness is Here to Stay’, which says that 3.2 million employees worldwide live with increasing discomfort due to their space or working conditions. “76 percent lack physical well-being, 74 percent experience financial problems, 38 percent feel excessive pressure at work and 24 percent are constantly unmotivated, stressed, unhappy and unsafe at work,” reads the report.
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