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Working from Home – The Pros and (not too many) Cons

The Interkom #WorkFromHome Series

From a Boomer’s Perspective

The recent developments with COVID-19 have provided some unforeseen circumstances for many of us.

Online one can see the many recommendations and best practices from gurus that provide the useful tips folks need to get used to a new normal. Which for a lot of us is to work from home for the first time, as mandated by company leaders, municipal politicians, or public offices in Toronto or Ottawa.

At Interkom, we made that timely decision on our own, when we found that driving to and from our downtown office added a lot of stress and unpredictable drive times due to the ever-increasing commuter traffic in around our office location in the GTA. And because a three-year construction project of a newly approved 24-story residential condo tower was about to get underway just two doors down from us. And perhaps also because one of my team members’ locked brand new bicycle was stolen in clear daylight from the city provided parking rack outside of our office by a young gentleman who sawed through the lock while having conversations with passersby.

As the boomer generation founder of our firm, who had commuted to an office for his entire 40-year working life, I was the last hold-out. My gen-x and millennial colleagues were very enthusiastic when we contemplated the idea in late 2018, and I’m sure they had visions of doing their work in their home environments, providing them with added quality time for having a perfect work/life balance. I, on the other hand, could not understand what the advantages were, except for a reduction in overhead expenses. Which in my mind could be offset if there was no more managerial oversight, the continued creation of a unique office culture, everyday typical banter and camaraderie?

Fast forward to 2020 and the current health crisis. Here we are 15 months into our 2019 experiment, and I must admit there is no going back. Ever! It clearly speaks to the fact that my colleagues are much more mature and adaptable than I thought they were. It appears that they do not need all that oversight and that in our current multi-city geographical set-up, we still act as one company, get along perhaps better than ever, and have been able to create a work environment that allows everyone to work in their own home set-up in a way that makes them productive and happier.

For some of us, that means being in a basement away from family members and pets; for some it means going to Starbucks, to be amongst like workers, students and coffee drinkers (of course not right now), or in some cases to be surrounded by birds and cats and works of art while being creative. For me it means, better productivity, it got us perhaps closer, because we are all in the same boat, and personally walks in the neighbourhood at lunchtime most days, while seeing and talking to some of my neighbours for the first time since moving into my complex 13 years ago.

Hopefully, you can all create this type of experience during these trying times. With or without the help of online gurus and experts. And welcome to a side-benefit of the COVID-19 virus.

My millennial and gen-x colleagues are up next with the second installment of our #WorkFromHome series.

Stay safe & healthy,