Arts, society & culture

Do your homework

Since the start of the pandemic, many of us have made the shift to working from home. But while the benefits of home-working have been widely extolled, it also poses challenges. How can remote workers ward against isolation and recapture the sense of camaraderie they might have experienced in the office? Abi Millar finds out.

One of the furthest reaching changes that occurred this year was the shift towards working from home. Whereas in the past, home-working was a minority pursuit – the preserve of freelancers and those with very forward-thinking employers – it has now become something close to the norm.

For many white-collar workers, the commute to the office has been replaced with a trudge to the kitchen table. Work meetings have been replaced with Zoom calls – the camera artfully positioned to show off the participant’s bookshelves – and smart-casual attire has given way to leggings and slippers.

In the UK, 49% of workers reported working from home at some point in the week ending 14 June, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS). In Australia, 32% of workers predominantly worked from home during April and May, while the figure for New Zealand was around four in ten.

It’s a dramatic change – last year, only 5% of the British labour market said they worked mostly from home – and like any change of this magnitude, it comes with its pros and its cons. For sure, there are many people who thrive on solitude, love their home comforts, and enjoy the extra hour in bed occasioned by cutting out their commute time. But there are just as many who have struggled, and very much miss aspects of their old life and identity.

Read the rest of this article in the Dec-Feb 2021 edition of Overseas

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