Is working from home viable long-term?

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05/27/2020

Typical weekday at my home: My son and I can be seen chasing our dog Blondie, trying to grab her before she escapes out the front door, which is open for some reason (my son?). Chaos ensues.

After countless moments like this over the past nearly three months of working from home, my blog title is a question that many of us — I am sure — are pondering these days. And I mean a LOT of us!

With many still working from home, others phasing back to working at the office and others taking on a more hybrid approach, it will be interesting to see what companies look like when we do finally get on the other side of this pandemic.

One of the unfortunate outcomes of all of this, or fortunate depending on your point of view, will be a natural gravitation toward, or push by companies for, this work-from-home model, especially if a state or company mandates or requires a phased reopening that includes social distancing, temperature testing, masks, etc.

Many companies are even considering changing the work-from-home and work-from-office dynamic/balance forever, allowing for more flexibility. While there are benefits to this new paradigm for both the employee and the employer, you have to wonder what will be lost with the diminished face-to-face time that will naturally occur, as well as accountability questions that will arise. Are consent forms for cameras in our home offices in the near future?

Zoom calls are fine, but they don’t replace actually sitting down and talking with someone eye-to-eye. The same can be said for in-person conferences, as the future of those will change, too.

With this office dynamic changing forever and more of us working from home, even just part of the time, security, especially cybersecurity, also becomes a major concern. There has already been increases in cyberattacks on those working from home, which is why companies need a strategy, policy and plan in place for securing home offices, as well as provide a secure and safe environment for employees who are going back to the office. Guidelines, training and resources for those who are now working from home is critically important for companies, as it is easy to become complacent about cybersecurity during these times.

At the very least, I’d take a way to alert me when my dog is about to bark and dart out the front door.

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