Is remote working the future?
3 min read
Ever since COVID-19 hit the shores of Singapore, I have been staying at home, working remotely for the majority of the time and heading to a cafe when I need to.
As part of my company's business continuity plan, the workplace has segregated us into different teams, and we have been advised to avoid meeting each other outside of work if possible.
Meetings and stand-ups are facilitated using video conferencing tools like Zoom and Slack video calls.
It got me thinking, what would the future be like? Would companies embrace remote working permanently if they could?
CDC: to avoid the spread of the coronavirus, self-isolate and stay indoors, avoiding other people
Programmer: I’ve been preparing for this my whole life
— I Am Devloper (@iamdevloper) March 5, 2020
As a stereotypical programmer, I tend to want to stay indoors, and 'slave' away at a problem I have at hand till it is solved.
This, as I quickly realised, is not without its side effects. Here are some pros-and-cons I have faced working remotely the past 7-8 long weeks.
Not having to commute to work
This is probably the biggest pro. Not having the spend 2 hours each day to commute to work each day is a huge plus.
Secondly on the list of pros, I managed to save more compared to the previous month by not having to eat in the city.
Emails or slack / zoom calls instead of meetings
Meetings are really the bane of my existence, and although they are necessary, I do feel that they do take up a chunk of everyone time. Funny how it takes a pandemic for us to realise how some meetings could have actually been emails.
Work life balance (the good)
Being away and having to work remotely means setting my own schedule and being able to take breaks when I need to.
I miss interacting with my colleagues face to face
This is quite a huge con for me. Part of what makes work a little easier at times is often the accessibility of being able to go up to my colleagues during work to clarify questions and catch up during lunch breaks etc.
I find face to face a lot easier as I can decipher what my colleagues are saying from their facial expressions, body language and just being able to tell their mood in general.
Snacking more, while not getting as much exercise
Previously, commuting to work helped me clock 10k steps daily. Since I don't have to commute, I now have to find an alternative.
Work-life balance (the bad)
Having worked for a couple of weeks from home, I find that the fine line between work life and personal life becomes a lot less clear - I catch myself doing work at say 10 in the evening because my laptop is in reach.
That begs the question, is remote working the future?
What I have experienced so far is not 'true' remote working as most of are are working from the same timezone, allowing coordination of meetings to be much simpler as opposed to companies with employees over the globe.
In these dark times, being able to work remotely is a blessing. While it is necessary now, I do not know if it would still be the norm during non-pandemic times.
What are your thoughts about remote working?
A couple of friends have recommended "Resources for the newly remote".