Many of us have been working from home or some other remote location for over three months now. We have learned a fair bit about this approach to work and we have more to learn in the coming months. I don’t think we will be done with remote work until the pandemic is over.
It has taught me three conflicting things:
1/ I can be a lot more productive working remotely than many of us believed before the pandemic
2/ Those with kids at home don’t experience the same productivity boost
3/ I can’t wait to be back working together in person
On the first point, I am able to get a lot more done in a day working remotely than I am able to do in the office. I now regularly do days with ten to twelve meetings/calls/videos. I don’t think I was able to do that in the office.
I have also found it easier to find time for work that requires a lot of focus (writing/modeling/analyzing/etc).
And I’ve been much better at keeping my inbox and other communications up to date and current.
And I can do all of that while making time to go biking, do yoga, meditate, etc.
It is a revelation to me how productive I can be working remotely, particularly when our entire team is doing the same.
All of that said, my friends and colleagues with kids at home have not experienced the same productivity boost. They get some of the benefits of working from home, but they also face distractions, double duty, and more. If we cannot reopen schools in the fall, it is going to be a very challenging time for parents.
It is also the case that I miss the feeling of being together with my colleagues. Today we will spend four to five hours on Zoom in our weekly team meeting. It is way more enjoyable doing it in person around our conference table.
Reconciling these conflicting realizations will be the key to what happens when the pandemic ends. I am certain that we will all want to retain some of the convenience and productivity that comes with working remotely. But I am equally certain that we will want to work together again.