The highs and lows of remote work
The past couple of years have been an absolute rollercoaster of lockdowns, testing, masks and social distancing.
How we live and work appears to have changed forever, with businesses that never thought remote work possible stepping up to prove that it can be done.
Like many businesses, the first lockdown was slightly surreal and a bit of a trial run for us at Geodetica. Safety was our main concern – both in terms of safe working and secure access to systems.
What felt like an insurmountable challenge soon proved to be an advantage when lockdowns were upon us again in 2021. We returned to work from home like pros, with many people discovering that remote work did actually have its benefits.
As we settle into 2022, it appears remote work is now a mainstay of the “new normal”…so we decided to take a look back at some of the highs and lows that got us here.
High: Flexibility for more work/life balance
While the concept of work/life balance has been around for several years, the question of how to achieve it often escaped the best of us.
The pandemic seems to have served up a solution – with remote working enabling strong (and even improved) productivity coupled with greater flexibility.
Especially for working parents, being able to pick up children or start dinner early and return to work of an evening has been very positive. The same applies to people who wish to live out of the city, and can now travel to the office just once or twice a week.
Low: Social isolation
While remote working is great for some, it doesn’t suit everyone all the time. Lots of people enjoy the office vibe, and find they do their best work around others.
There’s never going to be a one-size-fits-all for remote working, which is why it’s important for managers and teams to be open and express what works best for them in their unique setting.
High: Greater efficiency with advancing technology
As we lean more heavily into technology, we’re discovering exciting new benefits – such as the ability to be more efficient in our day to day.
Video conferencing and collaboration tools have completely eliminated travel time to and from meetings. Online platforms have connected staff who may work 10km away, or even 10,000km away. Automation is now able to take on the brunt work for many industries which frees people up to be more creative and strategic in their roles.
A reflection on remote work during lockdowns wouldn’t be complete without a mention of homeschool. While it certainly offered a way to spend more time with family and get to know our kids better, it wasn’t always easy.
Many professionals can recount being asked a question by their primary-aged child that directly relates to their line of work…and being absolutely stumped in giving them an answer.
If you were thrown a curly grade 5 math question and you’re a senior accountant who couldn’t figure it out, you’re not alone!
Low: Small businesses are struggling
With so many people working from home, businesses that are heavily reliant on foot traffic are struggling. This especially relates to cafes and restaurants which have previously survived on patronage during office break times, and have since seen a huge decrease in trade.
While the ease of spinning up a toastie on the grill at home is tempting, we must remember that business owners still need us in these difficult times and make a point to head out for a coffee and a bite when we can.
Where to next?
Looking forward, it seems as though remote work has taken up permanent residency in offices across Canberra and the nation.
At Geodetica, we continue to support our staff to work from home, and our contractors to come to arrangements that work best for them and their client.
While it hasn’t been an easy journey, there is light at the end of the tunnel…and a lot of positives we can take from this experience.