Buildings in Manhattan, where the amount of sublet office space available to rent surged nearly 50 percent last year. Credit…George Etheredge for The New York Times

“People are more productive working at home than people would have expected. Some people thought that everything was just going to fall apart, and it hasn’t. And a lot of people are actually saying that they’re more productive now.” – Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook

A new beginning for the working environment

A year ago it was a daily routine for many people to wake up and head into the office. Most would be there from roughly 9 am to 5 pm then take the daily commute home. March of 2020 changed that for many people’s foreseeable future in terms of work style. The work from home style for many had become now an everyday routine. Still to this day even past a year we still see people working from home and many of the Covid guidelines still in place. People over the past year though have started to adjust to the work from lifestyle. Which for some has been an improvement in lifestyle and even has an impact on the effectiveness as an employee. While others are itching to get back into the office there are many who have found it difficult to do the work from home.

Now over the summer of 2020, I had the opportunity to work at Lowe’s as an Online Merchandising intern for the summer in their program. An opportunity that many people didn’t get to have due to Covid and companies canceling many kid’s internships. It definitely made for a different experience from my previous internship in the summer of 2019 which was in person. Working for a home for the summer was going to be coming with its perks and challenges. With the right environment though and being able to concentrate through the little distractions. I found myself able to be more effective and have work done earlier. “A study by Standford of 16,000 workers over 9 months found that working from home increase productivity by 13%. This increase in performance was due to more calls per minute attributed to a quieter more convenient working environment and working more minutes per shift because of fewer breaks and sick days” (Apollotechnical). The data and responses from the employees are now driving many businesses to consider the division of employees that are capable to work from home and remaining there, followed by bringing the ones that have struggled and became less effective. Which I feel is the best way to go about this, because as well I will be graduating in May of 2021 and then Starting my full-time work at Lowe’s in early July of this summer. While in the beginning there were speculations that there would be some type of hybrid set up for employees but as of recently, I was just informed that I will be 100% remote. For the time being, I think this will be the most effective way for students coming out of school and into the workplace. Due to the fact that we have all just spent the last year working from our computers in school and have become so adjusted. The object is really coming down to is that if one is able to have a successful and strong enough workplace at home then it would make a lot of sense to keep people at home if they are able to produce better work and more efficiently. The problem arises which was found that only 65% of Americans had internet fast enough to handle video calls. That is when you need to get people back into the office. For the ones though that have an effective set up it makes a lot of sense to leave them at home.

Over the summer I found myself in a much better state of mind from working from home. I was able to get up early and get started on my work at a time that I felt was most effective. Then was able to be done with the day slightly early as long as I didn’t have meetings or anything that was involving other people. It was a lot of stress reduced from being in the office where you’re surrounded by people and a lot more opportunities to be distracted. Especially when your new to an office or some form of a new environment that will provide a lot of opportunities for a person to be more focused on the work. Hence it will be able to produce a more efficient person. Something I found to be very true through personal experience as I was able to feel more on target with work. There were few distractions at home and was able to produce better work and at a faster rate. When someone is able to be comfortable at home and be able to be happy at home it has shown to increase mental health for workers. “CNBC did a survey that showed that remote workers have a Workforce Happiness Index score of 75 out of a possible 100, topping the 71 among those who have continued to show up at workplaces” (CNBC). A number I feel strongly about because going through it myself from working from home and in the office, I was a lot more comfortable at home and felt myself being the most productive. Even though I miss out on the social face-to-face interactions.

The workplace will not be the same ever again. We will not see everyone returning to the office as this pandemic has displayed a new form of working style. It has been found to be very effective for many. While for some it has been a detriment and a problem. That is the change we will see though. For those that have been found to be more effective than at work, we will see those jobs switch too remote. Then for those that are not as effective will see a return to the office. It will be a major downsize for many companies on the number of people in the office. It will be a very interesting thing to see how people react to this new shift in the workplace and see if the at-home productivity stays on pace.