I’ll preface by saying that work-from-home articles have been beaten to death. But this article is backed by a poll in which 2,602 people participated, and it includes comments from some of the voters. In my mind, this number of voters is a forum.
Of those who voted, 49% prefer a hybrid workplace. This is not surprising, as we are social beings and enjoy the company of others. But we also enjoy the flexibility that comes from being at home.
Angela Watts wrote in support: “I’m incredibly grateful for the flexibility of [working from home] WFH; however, I really miss the connections and energy of an office. I think having the option to do both (hybrid) is ideal.”
We’ve come to realize that our work-life balance is enhanced by a hybrid work environment. I didn’t say remote, because even though 39% of the voters chose this work environment, I argue that there’s very little, if any, interaction with one’s colleagues. Ergo the lack of the work element. Some will argue with this statement profusely.
The pandemic gave us a taste of WFH; it forced this work environment on us. Personally, I didn’t enjoy WFH, as my family and I were “on top of each other” and I didn’t have the technology I needed to do my job properly. I couldn’t wait to leave for the office.
There are also those who’ve been WFH for many years and have grown used to it. Adrienne Tom is a professional resume writer who works remotely. She wrote: “I’ve been working from home for nearly 15 years, and I never miss going to an office. I still feel very connected to others even without the opportunity to see people in person and I feel like I do my best work in the space I’ve created for myself within my home.”
Working in the office only garnered 12% of the votes. Julie Kellerman, a former client of mine, wrote: “After working from home for 15 months I thought Hybrid would be my preference. I got a job that is 100% at the office & I really like it. I missed the city & nothing beats building relationships & learning a new industry face-to-face. The one downside is the commute, but I’m making it work. My planning has improved (meals, chores, laundry, social events) & I’m catching up on my reading!”
I was one of the 12% who voted for office work. Call me crazy, but I enjoy the interaction of my colleagues and the direct communication with my bosses. No, I’m not listening outside the door to meetings. That happened in my early years.
What about job seekers?
It’s fair to say, and somewhat a cliche, that looking for a job is a full-time job. It could take up to 60 hours (if done poorly.) Along with the research, resume and LinkedIn profile writing, networking, and interviewing required, one must keep their sanity intact.
Job seekers felt and still feel the pressures of working from home. During the pandemic, things were the worst for job seekers. Not only did they have to tackle the tasks mentioned above, they also had to network on LinkedIn and attempt to network via a video platform.
With kids in school, multiply job seekers’ struggles by 10. At the beginning of the pandemic, I watched my college-age child attempt to learn via Zoom. My daughter taught elementary-age students virtually for City Year. These learning and teaching instances were less than ideal.
With the pandemic waning, have things gotten better? I would say most definitely, but I also say that conducting a job search is tough if job seekers don’t leave the confines of their home. There are distractions that keep job seekers from conducting a proper job search. Who couldn’t resist taking an early morning walk or watching Ellen?
More so, the despondency seeps in when job seekers feel there are no places to go. I recently met with a client who insisted on meeting me in my office. My preference is meeting by Zoom, but I realize that he had to get out of the house. He admitted as much during our meeting.
The job search is further hindered by people’s reluctance of leaving home to attend in-person networking events. I have thought of resuming our career center’s networking group but know the attendance would be abysmal. This might change as time goes on.
You’d figure now that the pandemic has waned, job seekers would prefer to work in the office or at least a hybrid model. Some of my clients are seeking strictly WFH environments at the risk of passing up in-office positions. Maybe the pandemic has given them a taste of this model, and they don’t want to go back to the grind.
Remember the commenter who voted in favor of going into the office–even if it was traveling into a major city? She was a former client of mine. When I met with her via Zoom, I saw the pain on her face not so much of being out of work, but more of being stuck in her home.