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As the NSW lockdown stretches on, many have found themselves back to the work-from-home lifestyle.
Almost unsurprisingly, it’s a welcome change for older workers who get to spend more time at home with family, complete chores, and enjoy a somewhat different pace.
“I love being able to take care of my mum when needed and having lunch in the backyard with my husband when it’s not too cold, taking in the sun, spending time looking at the bees and birds,” shared sustainability officer Jyoti Shankar.
In fact, she finds that she’s more productive at home without the distractions of the office like people stopping for a chat, smells of lunch being heated up wafting from the office kitchen, and the occasional fire alarm.
For Rajesh Dave, who works in IT, working from home has given him time with his baby granddaughter one day a week and his two other grandkids.
“I think this is just another evolutionary step in expanding our skill sets, especially soft skills,” he said. “All of a sudden, soft skills come to the fore while working from home. I know some folks who have trouble expressing themselves on video calls, which is admittedly entertaining!”
According to a recent study by one of Australia’s leading suppliers of video collaboration technology, 44 per cent of Australians agree that video conferencing allows for a greater work life balance than going into the office every day.
“If I had two job offers, identical in all respects, one offering 5 per cent higher salary with all five days in the office and the other working from home, then I’d probably take the latter at this stage in my life,” admitted Shyamal Bhatia, who also works in IT.
He’s not alone. As per the study, more than 40 per cent of the Australian workforce would rather work from home than receive a pay rise.
It’s a different story with younger Australians, though.
“If given the choice, I’d prefer a pay rise over working from home,” said Tejas Kaja, an analyst who works in the CBD. “I do enjoy working in the office and socialising with my colleagues. I definitely miss the beautiful Sydney views from my desk!”
For the younger generation, there are many distractions that hinder their productivity from home like flatmates, sounds of construction and traffic outside the house, and of course, the allure of the kitchen.
Lawyer Ritam Mitra observed, “Home life and work life blending into each other is perhaps the biggest detractor, as well as the lack of social interaction or after-work drinks.”
He did admit that the home-cooked meals – and the daily walks – were pleasant benefits.
He concluded, “If I had to choose, I’d go for the pay rise – but WHF should be optional!”
“It’s all about the balance,” lawyer Khushaal Vyas agreed. “Whilst I love the flexibility of working from home, I would not want to be working from home every day of the week. There are professional, social and wellbeing factors that the home environment cannot match. All in all, I’d take the pay rise – working from home is enjoyable as an added balance to work life. But to do it permanently doesn’t sound too fun to me.”
Still, there’s one unifying aspect of working from home that unites employees of all generations: the comfort of casualwear. Whether it’s old uni hoodies and trackies, salwars, or even pajamas, remote workers have readily embraced loungewear on a workday. In fact, as per the workforce study, 5 per cent of employees even admit to not wearing pants at all.
There’s a general consensus among younger workers for remote work to remain an option, even when things get better and officers reopen.
And that might well be the future. Have we seen the last of the 5-day week?
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