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Companies weigh the benefits of working from home

Posted at 1:51 PM, Mar 08, 2021

Your home office might be your sanctuary or it could be a nightmare. Maybe it's a little of both. No matter how you feel about it, working from home might be more than a pandemic trend.

“Appears to be something that is going to keep happening for a while and maybe not just out of necessity, but also because we’ve discovered that it might be a useful thing to do,” said Cindi Fukami, a professor at the University of Denver business school, focusing on management.

The benefits of working from home to businesses are pretty obvious if you ask her.

“The biggest benefit is the saving on overhead. Not just the rent, the other associated things, parking, etc.,” said Fukami.

Companies will also be able to hire people who live in different cities and not just pull from where the company is located.

Some big-name companies like Salesforce, Dropbox, Microsoft, and Facebook have already come out and said they will support indefinite work-from-home policies or allow some form of working from home going forward.

However, do we lose something from not being in the office? Mostly, human-to-human interaction, and to a lot of people, that’s important.

“I’ve also heard from a lot of people that they’re excited to go back to the office. That they just miss their friends, they miss the office parties, that it was easier to make decisions that it was easier to collaborate," said Liz Fosslien, who works for Humu, an action management company based in Silicon Valley.

The Valley is where many companies are making working from home a mainstay, but Humu sees a ton of benefit for in-person work.

“The casual collision, so, especially in tech, like Google’s campus, is designed to have people from different functions run into each other. You know the other big one is just having those more emotional conversations. So, performance reviews, difficult conversations, making decisions where you need people to chime in,” explained Fosslien.

There are definitely pros and cons to both. So what can you do if you want to keep working from home but your company wants to go back to in-person work?

Many sources online, including one from CNBC, all have similar advice:

  • Have a plan about how to approach the conversation
  • Identify and address concerns head-on
  • Bring evidence of how your productivity hasn’t faltered while you have been working from home

While working from home may not be the new normal for all on the other side of this pandemic, it could be your new normal if you want it to be.