There is no doubt about it, I am an introvert. And whilst that might confuse the people that know me, or who have come across me – and not gotten that impression – trust me, I most definitely am.
“Contrary to common belief, introverts aren’t generally anti-social or shy: rather they derive their energy in a different way to extroverts.”Stylist
I certainly don’t shy away from speaking up in my professional or private life, I enjoy socialising with family, colleagues and friends and I surround myself with the people I love and treasure however, I do come away with the need to recharge my batteries after a particularly stimulating day.
Like my colleagues I tackle public speaking, I deliver training sessions, I conduct client meetings – all of which are part and parcel of my job – but I’m not the loudest in the room or the most confident. I don’t like to take up space.
So, when the first lockdown hit in March 2020, and my entire office went home to set up makeshift desks on living room tables, bedrooms, conservatories and kitchens… I found a new love. Working from home!
Whilst I got to work in comfortable and familiar surroundings, my cat purring on my lap and drinking out of my favourite cup it dawned on me. Why on earth have I never thought to work from home before?
“While the transition to remote work in early 2020 was abrupt for everyone, some found themselves thriving more than others – in many cases, thanks to their personality type.”BBC
Whilst many employers were quick to worry about levels of productivity decreasing whilst employees worked from home, their fears were allayed by the fact that productivity levels shot up. The ‘working day’ became statistically longer with employees often putting in more hours now that they didn’t have a commute. And whilst I personally realised that I was working for longer and should really start setting some boundaries between work and life at home, it turned out as a success for company’s like mine and many more like us.
As well as no longer having a commute, working from home also made the day to day running of my household easier. I was able to unload the dishwasher on my lunch break, pick my son up from nursery and make a proper cooked lunch for myself rather than grabbing a packaged sandwich. My quality of life improved and so did my intrinsic motivation for my job.
“As pandemic restrictions have eased, employees are beginning to see the floodgates of “back to the office” open and along with it, a range of emotions. For some, it’s the excitement to be in-person again, while others are filled with a sense of anxiety.”Hubsearch
Of course, as with anything, there are pros and cons to remote working. It doesn’t suit all industries and it certainly doesn’t suit every person. With the return to the office this year, it’s understandable that it has been met with excitement from some people that feel as though they thrive much better in that environment, where they are surrounded by people and the hustle and bustle of life. Others – like myself – felt more anxious about the ‘return to normal’, with the idea of a full week in the office sounding exhausting. Like me, some people have switched to being remote full time – with the intention of going into the office every so often – which works perfectly with the new work/life balance that I’ve managed to achieve.
Whilst I understand that with more offices being split between office-goers and remote members of the team – there may be a shift in the way that things work. For example, it might be that remote workers start to become viewed as less committed to the job, or they may get phased out of decision making or planning, simply for not being in the room. This will be an interesting change to monitor, with so many more businesses opting for a flexible working approach with a hybrid method or full-time remote work options.
It’ll be more important than ever to make sure that the communication between colleagues (and employee and employer) is strong, and that regular catch-ups are had. It’s hard to say whether remote workers will be disadvantaged compared to those that have decided to return to the traditional office setting, only time will tell.
“In online meetings, it’s now easier than ever before to fade into the background. And this presents a problem. Out of sight really can mean out of mind. But if you are intentional about it, online meetings can become your golden opportunity to be visible and demonstrate the value you deliver to your organization, even if your comfort level online is iffy.”Forbes