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IT loves home office and is not afraid to say it. Part 1.

IT loves home office

IT loves home office and is not afraid to say it. Part 1.

We’re eighteen months into the pandemic now – hard to believe. As soon as it hit the world, the home office mode became the new normal for a vast majority of IT professionals (among other business branches, of course). As surprised as we all were, the IT business had no choice but to try to handle the situation, and we might be happy to say: it did, and did it well. Now, after all these months, remote work, as well as remote team and project management, for many seems obvious. But back in March 2020 thousands upon thousands of engineers, developers, testers, architects, and so on, suddenly had to change their working mode to a fully remote one, swiftly and smoothly. Even if – obviously – remote work as such was hardly a new thing for the IT business (i.e. one day of home office a week was a standard), still, considering the scale of the shift, it all seems kind of unbelievable.

TIME TO PANIC?

Truth be told, home office as a permanent way of working was a dream come true for many IT specialists. At the same, time it sparked a panic across management in most companies. Can’t blame them, if we get a little perspective: according to a Bulldogjob report published in early 2020, just weeks before the first covid wave, only 13% of seniors, 8% of mids and as few as 4,6 % of juniors in IT declared they were permitted to work fully remotely. One year later, as much as 73% of all IT professionals declared they are working fully remotely, and an additional 20% declared working in a hybrid model. 

The pandemic is getting more under control in recent months, but it seems that there’s no going back to how we used to perform work. Home office as a rule truly did become the new normal in many places, and in these companies going back to the office is optional for the employees who simply prefer it. But (yes, there’s always a but) while remote working solved a lot of problems for many, with commuting being on top of the list in the majority of surveys, it also showed that video conferencing, online chats, and emails aren’t able to replace direct human interaction. We can get a task done at home just as well as in the office, but working is not only about putting a tick on your to-do list. It’s a social thing. And humans are by nature social animals, as Aristotle put it well over two thousand years ago.

WORKING IS A SOCIAL THING

A lot of developers I talk to during interviews share that they miss meeting their colleagues and even just coming to the office. It’s true also for these programmers who claim to be introverted and who at first loved the idea of fully remote work! It doesn’t necessarily mean that they would like to commute every day, but after several months of enjoying the comfort of working from home in a DIY assembled home office space, many of these people actually started feeling lonely and isolated. 

Indeed, human-to-human interactions are more important for our mental health than we are often aware of. A sense of safety, belonging, and security are among the most basic human needs. Research done by the Institute of Public Health, Faculty of Biomedical Sciences in Switzerland, published just before the pandemic, showed that social isolation may be considered as a risk factor for health. Even if you’re not a fan of coffee machine small talk, know that supportive conversations with colleagues or your manager means a lot to your brain. As humans, we are all social creatures – extraverted or introverted all the same. It’s also worth remembering that we train how to communicate and interact with people all our lives and withdrawing from social situations does affect one’s social skills. That’s why complete isolation from colleagues at work doesn’t sound like a great idea in the long run. Thankfully, there are ways to reconcile it all – I’ll get back to it in a bit.

HOME OFFICE INCREASES PRODUCTIVITY

For employees, home office is often a huge time-saver and a way to significantly improve work-life balance. For those who live in traffic-congested cities and have to commute to the office, the so-called nine to five, in reality, means seven to seven. And what about grocery shopping, doctor appointments, driving young kids to kindergarten or school… Not to mention actually enjoying your life (what a crazy idea!), which often has to wait until a weekend – or even holidays – because of lack of free time. Home office solved this problem for many people, giving them back something that once used to be a luxury: a few hours a day. And isn’t time the greatest resource we have? This is why so many of us are definitely not willing to give this time back.

Stick a pin in that. I’ll come back to it in part 2 of the article, where I’ll discuss it further and also take a closer look at the pros and cons of the home office as well as what appears to be the Holy Grail of remote work: the so-called hybrid model. Coming very soon, stay tuned!

Oliwia Wangryn-Jaworska
IT Career Advisor & Team Building Expert w Rite NRG

In my work, I focus on building relationships. I am a liaison between candidates and companies, listening closely to the needs and expectations of both sides, and then trying to find the perfect match and satisfactory solutions.

In my free time, I like to spend time in nature, biking, or lying on a deckchair with a nice cup of coffee and a good book. My friends and family are an important part of my life – they give me the energy to move forward.

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