Colleagues – some you love, some you complain about bitterly (and sometimes even throw an eye roll their way) but now that we’ve all been semi/fully working remotely for almost a year, the truth is – you really miss them, toxic colleague included, and strangely enough, even the office politics.
Where remote work was once a unicorn perk (i.e. the bosses would never let it happen), the Covid-19 pandemic has made working from home an overnight reality for most non-essential workers. And even though Singapore is in Phase 3, allowing for some to return back to the office, flexible work will remain a permanent part of working life. At the Singapore Budget 2021, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance Heng Swee Keat stated: “Singapore workers will have to adapt to global trends such as flexible work, remote work and new forms of collaboration that open up the local job market to stiff competition from overseas. At the same time, the work itself will change.”
What this change looks like remains undefined, but going by a US-based Morning Consult survey where 75 per cent of respondents said they would like to work remotely “at least 1-2 days a week once the pandemic is under control”, a new way of working will be one with less in-person interaction and a reliance on digitalisation and automation. For some, this detached form of work is ideal (less distractions, no commute needed) but for many, who remember work in a busy office setting surrounded by others, working virtually without peers to banter and brainstorm with may bring about feelings of isolation, and possibly, increased levels of depression and anxiety.
To combat the blurred work-life boundaries and potential feelings of social isolation, the trick lies in being intentional about maintaining the human connection in these unprecedented times. To get the ball rolling and reduce the dreadfulness of WFH (never thought we’d say this!), try the following.