For sure, 2020 was something different. Working from home went to a different level. We gonna talk about it for years, tell stories to our grandkids about how we survived, about quarantine, restrictions on traveling, wearing masks not seeing your friends and relatives for a long time, and the epic come back of the stock market that crashed early in the year but not only it recovered but closed the year in profit. The S&P 500 finished 2020 with a gain of 16.26% for the year and closed at a record high, a remarkable performance after a drastic selloff in February and March.
A pandemic happens every hundred years on average. The 1918 influenza pandemic was the most severe pandemic in recent history. It was caused by an H1N1 virus with genes of avian origin. Although there is not universal consensus regarding where the virus originated, it spread worldwide during 1918-1919.
In the United States, it was first identified in military personnel in spring 1918. It is estimated that about 500 million people or one-third of the world’s population became infected with this virus. The number of deaths was estimated to be at least 50 million worldwide with about 675,000 occurring in the United States.
When Covid-19 started to spread around, the world had to adapt. During March, Companies decided to close the offices and start sending people home to work remotely. I was one of them. And suddenly everything changed.
I remember that I woke up in the morning, brushed my teeth, and went to get dressed. While putting my shirt on, I looked myself in the mirror and said, ‘What are you doing? You are working from home today!’ Sweat pants mode ON!
Now almost a year later, that I worked probably 95% from home, I understand that working from home has a lot of advantages but disadvantages too.
1. You don’t have to commute to work.
Most people lose on average 2 hours per day commuting. That’s 10 hours per week, 520 hours per year. That means that from the 365 days a year has, people, spend 21 days commuting to work! That’s a lot of time.
2. You don’t have to get dressed
For some people, the fact that they don’t have to get dressed saves up to 20-25 minutes per day. You wake up, wear your sweatpants and you are ready to go.
3. No office distractions
We all have that annoying colleague in the office that keeps popping and asks unnecessary questions. If you are working from home you can just ignore his email and reply later on.
4. You can get a nap at lunch break
Having a small nap during lunch break is so refreshing. It’s like a reset. You wake up fresh and ready to go back to work. Be careful though, a nap should not be more than 20 minutes. Make sure to set up an alarm. If you oversleep you may wake up sluggish and tired.
5. You spend more time with your family
My daughter is 2.5 years old. Due to Covid-19 and working from home I watched her grow the last 12 months. I truly feel blessed about this. She won’t be a baby for ever. I will never forget that she was knocking on the door and shouting Daddyyyyy let’s play, while I was having a zoom calls, and everyone in the call was laughing, because it happened to all of us and it was the new norm. It was okay for hearing kids shouting in the background. We all got used to it.
1. You work more
It’s true. During this year that I have been working from home, I found my self working more hours. I believe it’s due to the fact that I don’t commute to work. I wake up, if I am in the mood I do a quick workout, after that I have a nice breakfast and start working. Same goes when I leave work. Now instead of 45 mins in traffic, I am on the laptop working
This is a serious issue for a lot of people, especially those that don’t have a family. Imagine being locked inside a house or flat, and communicate with people only online, for 30-40 days in a row.
3. Tasks take longer
When you are in the office, you can go next to your colleague and ask him directly for their opinion, or to give you an update on a task, or to help you with the a problem. You don’t have this option when working from home. Everything has to be communicated either by email, slack, phone call or video call.
4. Lack of good working environment and equipement
Let’s start with the basic. Proper chair and office desk. Not everyone have these two basic things in their home, and it it affects the quality of your work. Imagine sitting on your couch for 8 hours. How efficient that would be?
Not all people have a dedicated room that can be used as an office. And imagine working from your living room and your kids are shouting next to you. Not so easy to complete that important task if you can’t concentrate.
No system in this world is perfect. Everything has its own benefits and drawbacks, and we have to make the best out of everything. Some employees are comfortable working from home, and some are waiting to go back to their workplace, sit on their beloved office chair and meet their co-workers. Many companies are doing surveys to understand what their employees are feeling and if they prefer working from home or not.
In my opinion the ideal solution is hybrid. A combination of the two. The employee should be able to choose if he/she wants to work from home or from the office. Or if he/she wants a combination, for example three days from home and two from the office.
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Books worth reading
Think and Grow Rich | Buy on Amazon
The little book of common sense investing | Buy on Amazon
I Will Teach You To Be Rich | Buy on Amazon
The Intelligent Investor | Buy on Amazon
A Wealth of Common Sense | Buy on Amazon