This article is the first in a series on work from home strategies in the post-COVID era.
In 2020 hundreds of thousands of employees were thrust into a mass experiment; working from home under duress in the COVID-19 era. Here in the United States, we are watching as society cautiously reemerges and nonessential businesses open once again to the public. CEOs are beginning to think about what we’ve learned and how it will change work in the future. The ways in which we are capable of competing have shifted. A return to business-as-usual is not what’s needed, either, as organizations enter one of the most volatile and complex business climates in recent history. To succeed, leaders must be highly adaptable.
This is a 5-part series on work-from-home realities, beginning with the dangers of high-risk extreme strategies for telecommuting. We will then discuss using this moment as a driver for change, and how to create a safe and compelling workplace. We are at a tipping point, and senior leaders must make a choice about where and how people will work. The wrong choices could prove costly on many levels. The pressure to get it right has never been greater.
The Realities of an Extreme Work-From-Home Strategy
People have been predicting the end of the office since the invention of Wi-Fi and laptops. Today, some experts suggest the office will go away as companies fully embrace work from home as a way to give people greater flexibility. During the crisis, anyone who could work from home did and, for a while, many people thought it worked pretty well. But after months of living on video, the novelty has worn off. The vast majority of us — 88-90% depending on the study — want to work in an office again.
So, why are we still having conversations about the office going away? There are three common misconceptions that continue to fuel the notion that exclusively working from home makes sense for everyone.
The reality behind three common work-from-home misconceptions
Weigh the Costs
Real estate and people are the two highest investments an organization makes. As some companies consider ways to reduce real estate as a cost-saving strategy, it’s important to consider the true costs to people.
How does your organization define and measure what it means to be productive? Routine work can be done at home. But, most leaders don’t want empty inboxes, they need good ideas, problem solving and innovation.
Focus on Wellbeing
Working from home is attractive because it suggests a better work-life balance. But, extreme WFH strategies can actually make it more difficult to separate work from life and cause stress for employees’ wellbeing.
In the next installment of this series, we’ll look at the first major misconception regarding the shift to telecommuting. Cost savings are often touted as a major benefit of switching to working from home, but as the data shows, the truth is much more complicated.
 Cushman and Wakefield which surveyed 40,000 people globally reports under 10% will work from home full-time.