Even in situations that seem inherently bleak, it sometimes helps to look for something positive. One good thing over the past couple of years is the mass introduction of remote work. And the data on the productivity of remote work that we have now.
A global pandemic is not quite the fair price to pay for getting to work in your pyjamas, but even if the night is pitch black, the morning will eventually come.
The positives and negatives of working from home
Two or so years ago, we had only a few fringe examples of IT teams working remotely. The reported productivity statistics were considerably higher compared to those working from the office.
But that was not enough to initiate the shift. There was not enough data to take the risk of investing in an infrastructure that accommodates remote work.
What we have now is very different. Now we have two years worth of statistics that suggest that giving people the option to choose(whether to work from home or go to the office) does more for productivity than wearing jeans to the office on Fridays.
Who could have possibly figured that taking away the daily stress of commuting and getting to design one’s own work environment could make working more enjoyable? Or that happy well-rested people are more productive?
There is, of course, a higher risk of overworking, especially if you don’t have a designated space to work in your home(home office).
How it’s likely going to be in the future
Many people are likely to quit their jobs if forced back to the office. Most recruiters have caught on to the trend and offer hybrid options already.
Because of the new option of picking from where you work combined with the possibility of flexible working hours, many companies already understand that work-life balance will be more relevant in the next few years than ever before.
Work-life balance in Japan? Yes, the thing with stereotypes is that they only work when the context is convenient. Many Japanese companies were the first in the world to introduce remote work or telework as it’s called here in Japan. The general understanding in the industries that allow remote work is that things stay as they are.
Things to look out for
It is crucial to understand what your employment contract reads regarding remote work and the mandatory office time. It is a bit tricky at the moment because most companies have yet to figure out the details themselves.
Make sure you understand the company policy, so there are no nasty surprises.
You don’t want to end up commuting for hours from your new scenic country home to the city office because your manager wants daily face to face briefings.
This article is not even trying to be impartial. Giving workers the option to choose and getting better work performance should be an obvious choice, but some traditions are difficult to break. Luckily the jobs that favour remote work the most also tend to be more open to innovation. If you work in Tech, the chances that you get to choose where to work from are looking good.