Due to the beginning of the Coronavirus era, there has been a lot of talking about working from home. There are benefits that have been highlighted: flexibility, better sleep, home-cooked food, working from abroad (but what about tax?) and so forth.
There is no question that working from home has – rightly so – shaken to the core and challenged the idea that we all need to be glued to our office chair Monday-to-Friday 9-5 in some dingy office building with poor ventilation and loads of stress. At the same time, now that the lockdown restrictions have been eased, people are starting to feel some sort of itch around this lovely idea of working from home.
Some people have started considering whether they should go back to the office now that getting out of your own house is allowed with the right precautions (by the way, folks, please make the effort to follow the Government directions, no matter how everchanging they are). Some others are religiously holding on to their newly acquired freedom and newly found rhythm and prefer staying home.
I believe that it would be beneficial to branch out of your house to work, even if it is very, very part-time, for a number of reasons that I am going to list below:
- Physical activity: do not underestimate how healthy it is to get up, take a shower, walk to the bus stop or underground station, or hop on your bicycle to go somewhere else than your sofa, bed or – if you are lucky enough to have one – your home office.
- Sun light: if you go out, you are definitely likely to catch some sun rays, even if you live in the cloudiest weather. Daily 20-minute exposure to the sun has been linked to improved immune system and better mood.
- Seeing people: even though you may not interact with others because you don’t want to waste energy dodging those infectious droplets of saliva, it is nurturing for your soul to see other human beings around you, besides your partner in pyjamas or those family pictures on your home walls. After all, no matter how introverted one can be, we are social beings and thrive in the company of others – it is written in our DNA.
- Working around people: our brains have what neuroscientists call mirror neurons, which start firing up when we observe other people carrying out an action, even though we are perfectly still. This means that if we are around people who are working – for example in coworking offices – those mirror neurons will start working too and we will be more likely to follow suit. This could lead to better productivity. Basically, in less scientific terms, other people’s hard work will inspire you.
Those are all the benefits of stepping out of the house for work. Mind you, I am not advocating for a full-time return to working from the office, especially if you don’t find it safe or sensible. I just wanted to loosen up the rigid dichotomy of absolutely-working-from-home vs. absolutely-working-from-the-office and suggest that – as it often happens – there is a happy medium that can be explored.