Temporarily Remote: A New COVID Variant Gives Workers A Stronger Argument To Stay At Home

B. Michael Logan

If doctors can treat patients from home, then why can't Dave, the data-entry clerk, do his work from home too?

The work from home debate has raged long before the inception of the novel coronavirus. As remote-work technology develops even further, companies have fewer legitimate reasons to keep workers confined to their cubicles. With a new COVID variant looming, employees will want to keep themselves and their families safe by rehashing the work-from-home debate.

The Argument From The Employers

The employers are the ones signing your paychecks, so you have to accept their word as law, correct? Often, workers feel as if they have no say because of the notion that management knows what's best for the company.

However, they often tend to ignore how retention rates and productivity increase as employees cut down on their commute, have more control over their environment, and improve their work-life balance.

Let's get the principal argument from employers out of the way now: It's mostly about control. As much as middle managers want to deny their reason for keeping you chained to your cubicle is to keep a watchful eye on you, it's difficult to believe otherwise.

It's even more difficult to believe employers don't want to keep a stranglehold over their employees when many positions going remote require software being installed on their computer that records everything they do. Some customer service positions even force employees to keep their webcams on so they can keep a diligent eye on their remote workers. How is this anything but a lack of trust?

Middle managers don't want to admit it, but they need that ability to micromanage their employees for their own job security. Even with productivity statistics working against them, their intentions are completely self-serving as company owners start questioning the need for these productivity supervisors.

Companies also don't want to eat the cost of their real estate. Office space is not cheap and only keeping the essential skeleton crew aboard the ship doesn't justify the costs of these spaces illuminated by the eye-killing fluorescent bulbs.

Finally, managing a dispersed workforce is a logistical nightmare for companies who don't want to put in any extra work for the morale of their employees. Instead of sitting atop their elevated cubicle keeping an eagle eye on productivity, supervisors feel they need to do extra work to keep the ball rolling. Many managers don't understand how allowing these freedoms to their employees will improve their performance instead of hindering it, and they're still not happy.

The Argument From The Employees

When employers think of their workers working from home, they picture a burned-out worker with children hanging on both of their arms as they try stirring a pot of pasta with one hand and using their laptop with another.

Believe it or not, when employers give their workers the freedom to work remotely, they'll create their own work-friendly environment. One of the biggest mistakes employers make is believing their employees don't have the time management skills to stay on task. The argument of productivity dates long before COVID and, even back then, the statistics backing improved productivity among workers were never on the side of the employers.

Work is not the only source of an employee's stress and doing what you can as an employer to reduce employee stress will only serve to increase morale, productivity, and loyalty. There are factors outside of work that lead to stress:

  • Commuting is an enormous source of stress and can affect performance in the workplace
  • Allowing an employee to work from home so they can move closer to an ailing family member or spend more time with their children will reduce stress. They won't have to think about being too far from their loved ones, which will free up mental real estate and improve productivity.
  • Limiting workplace-specific distractions and taking employees away from possible workplace drama helps them focus on their tasks.

If you feel it's time for you to sit down with your employer and have the conversation, not the argument, for working remotely; it's best to talk about your needs. The statistics may be on your side as an employee but, at the end of the day, the company makes these decisions, so it's important to listen as much as you want to be heard.

How can working from home benefit the both of you?

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Freelance Copywriter, Blogger, Graphic Designer | Certified Medical Professional |

Virginia Beach, VA
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