Opinion | New standards of working may alter post-quarantine jobs

By Marykate Green, columnist

With everyone being quarantined, many non-essential companies have switched to a work from home approach. As employees prove they are able to be at home and get the work done, companies may decide to permanently switch over to this sedentary method.

There are many benefits for employers to permanently alter the way they operate. Having their employees work from home means they don’t have to pay for the building rent, electricity, plumbing, internet access, office supplies, cleaning personnel and more. 

For the sake of time management, unproductive meetings could be forgone and replaced by brief emails. Work meetings are bad enough when held at an office, but to get ready and have a meeting take place in your home while you’re still in your pajama bottoms is an option most people want to opt out of.   

Having employees work at home means that they might be more willing to work longer hours or additional days. With the added convenience, employees will be more loyal to the company and will most likely take less sick days as they can now work from the couch.

Remote working is also beneficial to the employees in terms of time management, finances and comfortability. Working from home means they save time without their morning commute and night commute. This also saves money on gas, train passes, parking fees or bus passes. 

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Employees can save money by not having to purchase as many professional clothes, with all of the reduced face-to-face interactions. Working in a familiar and comfortable environment can increase productivity while decreasing stress and anxiety.

Saving this time means employees can do other things such as cook, clean, spend time with family, pick up new hobbies, etc. Being able to work from home means some employees may be able to save money on childcare and dog walking.

And, while these benefits may sway employees to email their boss begging them to make the switch, they also have to consider the drawbacks. By eliminating in-person contact, professional relationships may suffer. Bosses may feel less of a connection with their employees. 

If companies switch to working from home, they may decide to go toward the route of contracting or gigging, while the issue of impersonality harms the employees. With contracting and gigging, companies can choose who they want to outsource their labor to. 

This means that while they might usually choose their regular employees, they could also find cheaper labor someplace else. This would negatively impact the employees by forcing them to either lower their cost of service and therefore their income, or be out of a job.

While making the choice to transition to working-from-home, both companies and employees have a lot to consider. There are many different factors to ponder: financial relief, emotional stability, increased or decreased productivity, time management and professional relationships. 

Having this time in quarantine to see how employees and companies function at home helps them to see if or how this decision would work. Completely altering the way future careers operate is a huge decision, and one that should not be taken lightly. While we have been viewing this working situation as temporary, we may need to consider the possibility of entering a changed post-quarantine workforce.

Marykate is a sophomore in Media.

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