By The Advocates
The work from home movement was accelerating even before the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, after Zooming and Slacking our way through 2020, bosses and employees alike are trying to decide if WFH can and should be a permanent fixture of post-pandemic work culture. If you’re thinking of making your home office your office for good, consider these four questions.
1. What are my options?
Anyone who isn’t a self-employed entrepreneur or CEO needs to talk through every available option with their boss. Are you hoping to go remote full time or only on certain days during the week? If you do work from home, will that change your role within your team’s structure? Will your supervisor have a different set of expectations for how and when you complete key tasks? If you change your mind or if conditions at your employer change will you have an opportunity to return to the office?
Also, don’t be afraid to mention any personal circumstances relevant to this decision. For example, if you or a family member have a medical condition that puts you at a high risk for COVID-19, work with your boss on WFH plan that allows for some flexibility once vaccinations are more widely available.
2. Do you have the necessary room and equipment?
Our emergency WFH pivots turned our spare closets and kitchen tables into offices. If you don’t have dedicated office space at your home, is WFH really the best way for you to stay productive in the long run? Would a switch to full-time WFH necessitate some upgrades to your computer, cell phone, or home internet? Is your spouse considering full-time WFH as well? Are you both ready for another year — if not longer — of battling for counter space and rationing shared bandwidth when one of you has a Zoom call and the other needs to download a huge project folder from the cloud?
3. Will you still feel connected to your coworkers?
As much as we’ve all improved our video chat skills during the pandemic, there’s a certain magic that happens when motivated people are all in the same room working on a problem together. Reestablishing face-to-face work connections could boost your productivity and your overall attitude towards work. Those social interactions could also give you a newfound appreciation for your company culture and the more human side of business that might have motivated you to take your job in the first place.
4. Is it time for a bigger change?
If managing life and work during the pandemic has had a major impact on how you look at both, you might be considering changes bigger than turning your spare bedroom into a permanent home office.
If you want to keep your current job but have been dreaming about moving someplace new, a WFH position might let you do both.
Likewise, WFH could let you keep your current home while taking a dream job on the other side of the country. With that pay boost you might be able to add an office space to the home you love.
Or, perhaps with your new tech skills and decentralized network of contacts, you’ve decided that this is the year you’re finally going to go out on your own and start the company you’ve always wished you could run.
WFH is opening so many possibilities beyond participating in a conference call in your pajamas. But any major life transition also triggers some important money issues as well. Whether you’re wondering about the tax ramifications of living in one state and working in another or exploring ways to finance a home upgrade, we’re here to help support the choices you make for your future.