Remote working vs. office. Lessons learned

January 29, 2021

The pandemic forced us to learn to handle ourselves in two scenarios. Have you ever thought about the positive aspects of each one?

The COVID-19 crisis caught us all by surprise. There was no time to decide whether it was better remote working or office working. As a survival mechanism, we were forced to lock ourselves in our homes, to build spaces to work, to live together, to clear our minds, and try to cope with an unexpected situation. And so the months have passed without so far, having a different alternative. What we can do is reflect on what we have learned and what we miss from the work environment we knew.

I consulted several professionals to find out what they miss about their work, as they had been developing it before the pandemic, and what they learned during 2020. Here I share some of their insights.

What they miss

  • Team working.
  • Team building activities.
  • Sharing anecdotes.
  • Eating with colleagues.
  • Having lunch in a restaurant with coworkers on paydays.
  • Special celebrations in the office (birthdays, Halloween, National Holidays, Mother's Day, Christmas, Secret Santa, New Year's Eve).
  • The comfort of the office.  
  • Taking advantage on running errands when leaving work.
  • Doing volunteer activities with coworkers.
  • Participating in events.
  • Organizing company’s events.
  • Relying on peers when going through difficult problems.
  • Helping colleagues when going through difficult personal moments.
  • Surprising coworkers with sweets and candy.
  • Sharing meals with coworkers and try their recipes.
  • Having all the resources to work comfortably such as an ergonomic chair, printer, good WiFi signal strength, video beam, etc).
  • The office coffee.
  • Talking to building staff.
  • Walking through the green areas of the building.
  • Going to the gym at the corporate tower.

What they have learned

People have learned to:

  • Boost appreciation for family and friends, as well as being grateful for being healthy.
  • Use new technological tools.
  • Organize time better.
  • Work alone.
  • Set boundaries between home and work office.
  • Rely on virtual tools to organize the work better.
  • Respect others’ time during video calls.
  • Ask for help when not knowing how to cope with programs or new working tools.
  • Be more grateful.
  • Adapt to digital communication.
  • Respect the work rhythms of others.
  • Figure out how to have fun at home during the quarantine.
  • Understand the importance of investing in work equipment that allows them to carry out their tasks comfortably and efficiently.
  • Appreciate the privacy they had in their offices.
  • Value the comfort they had in their work spaces.
The pandemic and teleworking have allowed us to learn to value and see traditional working life from a different perspective. At times we remember with nostalgia everything we enjoyed and wish we could experience it again. But reality has forced us to adapt to a new way of working, to a new lifestyle and, at the same time, it has given us the possibility of learning to see everything we have from another perspective. According to your own experience, do you prefer working remotely or in person? If you wish, we invite you to share your opinion at the end of this note.