Should you go back to the office? This is a question that’s high on many people’s minds. After months of working from home, some offices are beginning to open back up. But instead of everything going “back to normal,” many companies are giving their employees the choice of where they work, whether it’s entirely from the office, entirely remotely, or something in between.
Everyone has their own unique considerations here — and ultimately, there’s no right answer. If you’re in the process of deciding how much time you should spend in the office versus working from home, we’ve put together a list of a few key considerations to keep in mind.
1. Health first
The first (and most important) consideration is your individual health situation. Each person has a unique risk calculation when it comes to COVID-19, and you should always consult your doctor and family. Even if a doctor has suggested it would be low risk for you to return to the office, consider your own comfort level and what level of risk you feel is right for you and the people you spend your time with at home. Only you can make this decision for yourself.
One of the big pros of working from home? No commute — besides the steps you take to your home office. If your office is a decent distance from your home, then this could be a big factor in your decision. Think about how much time you could save by working from home, even if it’s just for a few days per week. On the other hand, you could enjoy having a commute and find that it allows you to transition between your work life and your home life.
3. Social opportunities
If you’re someone who loves to socialize and be around people, returning to the office at least part of the time may be a good option. Working from the office is inherently much more social than working from home. Think about how much value you put on things like chats in the kitchen, lunch with coworkers, and meeting up after work — these are all things that are inevitably much harder to do when working remotely.
4. Flexible schedule
Would working from home allow you additional flexibility at work? While you might still be required to be online on a regular schedule, often working remotely goes hand-in-hand with a bit more flexibility when it comes to working hours. If you need to pick up your kids from school, check on an elderly parent, or any other regular appointment, there could be a case for working from home. Working from home can often make prioritizing these errands easier, rather than trying to get away from the office in the middle of the day.
Think about how you do your best work. Is it in your home office, where you don’t have any distractions and can just purely focus on your work? Or, is it at the office, where you have more of a work/life separation and can truly focus? Pay attention to the situations where you find that you work more efficiently and happily, and consider what type of work setup can help you maximize this.
6. Consider your role
What your role is at work can also play a role in how valuable it would be to work from home, remotely, or a hybrid between the two. If you’re someone who works more independently on projects, there may not be a huge difference in terms of going into the office. But, if you work very collaboratively or are required to manage others, there may be some value in being in the office — at least some of the time. Think about your unique role at work, and how much value you’d get working alongside your coworkers in person.
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