The Bad Side Of Remote Working

As we forge into our third year of working through a pandemic, we've learned so much about remote working. Early on, we realised that work-from-home lifestyles weren't the unprecedented productivity killers businesses anticipated. On the contrary, productivity levels couldn't have been better, with our beds and desks steps away from each other. Employees have also gained a lot in working from home, including freedoms, flexibilities and multiple conveniences. All that said, we need to talk about the dark side of working from home. Is WTH a sustainable and permanent solution or just convenient and easy for now but damaging in the long run? What are the negatives of working from home?

What Cred Founder, Kunal Shah, Has To Say

If you're an active Twitter user, you might know about Kunal Shah's latest tweets on working from home, which has ignited widescale debate and left users quite divided on the matter.

In one of his posts, he compares working from home to children studying and how both have similar harmful effects on interactions, bonding with peers and learning.

We think he's made some valid points, and here's why.

In the early COVID days, remote working was a seductive enticement for many who've never before experienced the novelty.

But as months have stretched into years, the negative effects of working from home are showing.

The Next Generation Of Workers Are Missing Out

Those who've entered the job market during the pandemic years have nothing to compare their working experiences against. They don't realise just how crucial the first couple of years of work is to shape and grow their careers.

It will only be in retrospect when they realise just how much they've missed out on because of the negative effects of remote working.

Sure, the relaxed nature of working from home is nice, and so is the super casual dress code and doing laundry in the middle of the day.

But there's a lot to be said about the absence of in-person learning and bonding when all your interactions happen online.

How can you forge solid and sustainable professional friendships or hone your craft correctly, develop your talents and learn new skills from experienced colleagues and mentors through limited screen time? Or, conversely, learn how not to do things if you're not adequately shown the ropes?

But there's a lot to be said about the absence of in-person learning and bonding when all your interactions happen online.

There's A Loneliness Epidemic Creeping In

Working from home, away from the non-stop office sounds and distractions, might have been blissful at first, but we're social beings first and foremost; even the most introverted of workers want to feel connected to others.

Being away from peers for long periods can have devastating effects on mental health and fulfilment. Although seemingly small and inconsequential, casual coffee encounters with workmates break up our days and provide us with some much-needed variety and bursts of stimulating conversation.

Remote working is undeniably lonely for any remote worker, so it comes as no surprise that incidences of anxiety and depression worldwide are rapidly climbing.

The workplace isn't merely a place to get work done during office hours, but a social destination where people build relationships with their teammates, get out of their house, switch up their scenery and be away from personal responsibilities and pressures for a couple of hours a day.

Remote working is undeniably lonely for any remote worker, so it comes as no surprise that incidences of anxiety and depression worldwide are rapidly climbing.

Creative Inspiration Is Lost

No amount of home-cooked lunches and not commuting can make up for losing creativity by not being around your workmates constantly.

It's easier to pick the brain of your neighbour for a few minutes when they're a couple of metres away from you than it is to type a message to someone over Slack.

Additionally, not having the workspace to meet your teammates for an in-office brainstorming session can undoubtedly hamper the creative process in group projects. We’ve quickly learnt that video conference is an inferior substitute that won’t deliver the same results.

Finally, the hubbub of the office might be distracting at times, but being around people working and talking about their work can be hugely motivating for those needing to get their creative juices flowing by feeding off the energy of others.

A Reminder Of Why You Work For A Company

The negative impact of working from home is that it's easy to lose sight of what you're doing and feel disconnected from your peers.

Going to the office every day might be inconvenient sometimes, but it reminds you that your job has meaning and purpose.

Pitching up to work, being constantly surrounded by the buzz, collaborating and seeing how your efforts matter and help others is hugely motivating.

Going to the office every day might be inconvenient sometimes, but it reminds you that your job has meaning and purpose.

Boundaries Are Important

While it's true that working from home can be good for productivity and is, on the whole, an efficient method of working, setting up boundaries and achieving a work-life balance can be problematic.

With your workstation beckoning at you to carry on working, it can be challenging to switch off post-work if you work from home 24/7 and don't have physical distance separating where you work, sleep, eat and relax.

Working from the office at least a couple of times a week might not stop you from overworking; but it at least puts space between you and your workstation after-hours.

Missing Out And Being Forgotten About

Previously, we've spoken about combatting proximity bias in the workplace. But the truth of the matter is that you might not always be remembered if you're around infrequently. This despite your bosses' and colleagues' concerted efforts to include you.

Out of sight and out of mind rings true in this context, unfortunately, even if you're performing well and doing good work from afar. It's easier for humans to see what's in front of them than to pay attention to who's working behind the scenes.

Harms Work Culture

Even companies with a positive work culture pre-covid have experienced the negative impacts of working from home, and that's because there are limitations to solidifying this over teleconferencing.

Any person forced to attend Zoom drinks can testify to this.

But why should company culture be prioritised over the convenience of working at home? Should it matter?

In a word, yes.

Workplace culture is at the heart of any company. It brings people together, makes them excited to be part of a team and proudly associate themselves with company values.

Workplace culture is linked to company retention, satisfaction and something we've mentioned before - meaning.

If the company principles align with an employee's, there's more likely to stick around longer and derive pleasure from their job.

Can the same be said about new started who haven't had the same opportunities to assimilate with workplace culture fully? Probably not to the same scale.

Workplace culture is linked to company retention, satisfaction and something we've mentioned before - meaning.

How to Get People Excited About Returning To The Office

Although there are exceptions, remote working, in the long run, isn't necessarily good for the company, for your staff, and hampers growth in a variety of different ways.

But, practically speaking, how can you get people excited to work in the office, especially for those who've only ever known remote working and are pretty comfortable with it?

Highlight all the good things about returning to the office. The ability to socialise, communicate, reconnect with others is worth getting excited about for workers disconnected, isolated and unhappy working from home full-time.

Hybrid working has been 2021's watchword. 2022 will likely continue with the trend. While implementing hybrid working models, realise that it isn't a one-size-fits-all for everyone. Learn to roll with the punches and be happy making changes along the way to fit your company and employees.

Get people excited about returning to work by changing office and workplace policies.

Let us guide you

We know the search process for a new workspace can be overwhelming, that’s why our team are here to help through every step of the way.