With COVID forcing Americans to shelter-in-place, there's no doubt that we've had to find new ways of doing things. For many people, this meant embracing a work-from-home lifestyle. When employees were sent home in March, most people assumed this would be a temporary adjustment. However, with companies now seeing the possibilities of remote work, it may very well become the default option for many employers.
In the last few months, a few major companies, most notably Twitter, have announced that, even after the pandemic ends, they will continue to have employees work from home. Citing benefits such as increasing morale and saving money on office space, these companies have taken a huge step, one that may inspire others to follow their lead. Some analysts predict that the culture around remote work may shift dramatically and that a physical office may become a status symbol reserved for only the most essential employees.
What does that mean for us?
As teenagers, this means we may never experience the bustling office setting that we see in the movies. Instead of making awkward small talk at the coffee machine, we may spend our days working in our pajamas or attending virtual happy hours. While there are definite upsides to this model, such as increased flexibility and a better work–life balance, there will also be challenges. Fostering community virtually is far more challenging than in person; the way we collaborate and interact with our coworkers may change dramatically.
What can we do to prepare?
Like any other skill, successfully working from home will require practice. Lucky for us, we have quite the opportunity to do this as many of us face another year of online school. As you approach school this year, develop good work from home practices. If possible, avoid attending class in your bed and try to develop the discipline to get your work done, even when a nap or scrolling through Instagram may feel more tempting. Although it may be difficult, try to maintain strong relationships with your friends and teachers; fostering intrapersonal relationships virtually may be a skill that is essential to your future career.