Waking up at a somewhat comfortable time, taking the time to prepare a fresh cup of coffee and hearty breakfast and generally taking things slow early in the morning as opposed to the usual get-ready-for-work rush. Whether it was a part of one’s daily life or not, a large portion of the world’s population has gotten a taste of what regularly working from home looks like.
As the pandemic forced countries into lockdown and enforced strict social distancing measures, companies worldwide veered towards a ‘work from home’ model for their employees, in attempts to keep business afloat while staying safe. For many, this was a novel experience and might have seemed like something ‘one could get used to’.
In addition to this, businesses worldwide now face the possibility of a more flexible work model in the future, shifting more towards digital and allowing more ‘work from home’ leeway. In fact, according to an article published on NPR, “Indefinite. Or even permanent. These are words companies are using about their employees working from home… And many employers now say the benefits of remote work outweigh the drawbacks.”
From a wider perspective however, and after a sufficient amount of time has passed working under this new ‘work from home’ model (about four months or so for some people), it has become more and more clear that working from home post-pandemic is actually quite different to working from home pre-pandemic.
There are a variety of factors that make a difference between the pre and post pandemic work from home experience, namely the mere fact that the pandemic has in and of itself taken such a huge psychological toll on the majority of the world’s population. Not to mention the fact that our everyday environment and routine has changed significantly, and we have all of a sudden also been thrown into a ‘new normal’ way of living.
Working from Home Pre-Pandemic
While working from home isn’t for everybody, there are people who have adopted this model of work as a regular lifestyle, especially those who freelance, work part-time or are self-employed. Most people who have been working from home regularly, find it quite difficult to go back to a full-time office job.
This model comes with a wide range of freedoms, such as a more flexible bracket of working hours as well as the fact that one could work from literally anywhere that has an internet connection – which these days, means basically anywhere.
The beauty of not being tied down to a certain physical space, is the fact that one could keep changing their location in attempts to stay inspired – from a comfortable home workspace, to a nearby cozy little coffeeshop, to a getaway by the sea.
There are also downfalls of course, one the main ones being a lack of social interaction. While seemingly repetitive at times, office jobs do have their own perks – one being the fact that they offer stability and a steady income, another being the work atmosphere and daily social interactions with colleagues.
In any case, for some of those who work from home regularly, perhaps the flexibility that comes with working from home provides somewhat of an overall better work-life balance.
Working From Home Post-Pandemic
At first, especially for those who go to an office on a daily basis, working from home might have seemed like a breath of fresh air. As time progressed however, a realization to the perks of actually ‘going to work’ slowly crept its way through.
All of a sudden, some of us – especially those who are naturally extroverted – started missing our colleagues. Some of us might have even started missing the different air our physical office space carries, and the confines of home – which once was a haven of solitude – has all of a sudden turned into the likes of a solitary prison.
Even for those who work from home regularly, the option to change atmosphere by going to the local coffeeshop is no longer available. When work and home mold together into one thing, who even knows how to differentiate between the two anymore… when one spends all their time (time which was perhaps divided into a number of various daily ventures – work, home, gym, coffeeshop, cinema, etc.) in the same place day after day, can one even call it home anymore?
On top of all this change, also comes the different mental state we all find ourselves in. While trying to adapt to the changing environment around us, we have to deal with the stress and anxiety surrounding a global pandemic – constantly worried about both ourselves and our loved ones. And in the meanwhile, we still have to work, as well as try to entertain ourselves in different ways.
Perhaps in Egypt however, things won’t remain this way and businesses here may not deem the same kind of leeway for work from home necessary as other countries across the world. With the economy slowly re-opening and curfew having been lifted, some businesses have already called on employees to return to normal working hours at the office.
In any case, the pandemic is still very much an issue both in Egypt and worldwide and most of us are still carrying a heavy load on our minds – both from the pandemic itself as well as all the change around us. As such, whether this model will continue or not, time has proven that working from home surely carries a vastly different connotation post-pandemic than the slightly more flexible one of pre-pandemic times.
*The opinions and ideas expressed in this article do not reflect the views of Egyptian Streets’ editorial team. To submit an opinion article, please email [email protected]