2020 has seen a severe change in how we work and more importantly, where we work. People have had to learn how to use new technologies as working from home and remote working has become essential to keep people safe against the coronavirus. Eibhin Kavanagh talks to workers about the pros and cons of working from home.
Working from home is a term we are all more than familiar with by now. However, it is something that people certainly have differing opinions on.
Ireland had one of the highest numbers of people working from home during the coronavirus pandemic, according to labour market think tank Eurofound.
The technology available to people at home is different than what is available in a work environment. Reliance on your own internet or own equipment can either be something that can be very beneficial or can negatively impact your work.
TheCity.ie talked to a number of people on this topic to see if working from home works for them.
Emma Read, UJ Virtual assistant and Mailchimp partner, has been working from home for five years now. “Working from home is much better for my mental health and wellbeing,” Read said.
As Read is self-employed, she supplies her own technology to work from home, so there has not been an adjustment from office work to working from home. “I choose my own hours, work in my own space, whether that be at my desk, on the sofa or in the garden in summer. There are no office politics to deal with, no commute,” Read said.
“Why anyone would choose to work any other way beats me!” she said.
Izzy Glazzard is a marketing manager for Reworked. Glazzard has also seen the benefits of working from home and how employee attitudes have also adapted to this major change in how we work.
“Working from home has really challenged my ability to manage my time and multiple projects consecutively,” Glazzard said.
There have also been reductions in businesses expenses, such as office maintenance that has benefitted Glazzard and Reworked.
“I think overall I’ve gained some really valuable skills. I can see a shift in employed attitudes towards working from home as they realise the mental health benefits for staff,” Glazzard said.
Lisa Murphy, who works for a research organisation, has been working at home since the pandemic began in March.
“It’s extremely frustrating,” Murphy said. Her work provided her with the technology required to work from home, but her internet can cause issues and even something like the weather can affect it and impact her work.
“The thing for me is just more about how isolating it can be you know, I’m very social,” she said. Murphy only started her job 3 months before lockdown and feels like working from home has impacted her ability to get to know her colleagues.
Mhairi Cochrane, 22, co-founded her own business, Lilypads. Cochrane graduated from University amongst the “Covid chaos” and went straight into working from home on her own business.
“I would say the main challenge was trying to learn a lot of new skills and use a lot of new online tools,” Cochrane said.
“I have never been that tech savvy, also when my Wi-Fi at home has a mind of its own and regularly just crashes. Me and my co-founder were not even able to meet and help each other out, we had to just chat over Zoom.”
Working from home has not been Cochrane’s favourite experience, as someone who “loves being around people and someone who hates boring routine”.
Living in a family home when working from home has also added to Cochrane’s opinion on working from home.
Going walks and mixing up where I work in the house – floor, kitchen table, standing chester drawer make-shift desk – has definitely helped,” Cochrane said.