On March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a global pandemic. As the world stares down year three of a crisis that has affected so many lives and livelihoods, we have been forced to ask the tough question; how does this affect lives, businesses, and society? We all know the story about the pandemic and how we went on for almost what seemed to be an eternity staying indoors during the lockdown. Although some people found a way to keep active as well as keep their various activities such as work, others used the opportunity to get to know their loved ones even better. Some people confessed to have also used that time, to figure out which relationships needed an ending. It was a handful of experiences all together for a lot of people.
However, it’s been almost three years since the lockdown and with COVID 19 still out there, the streets are open. Some people are almost back to what used to be their life, others are finding it difficult to reintegrate back into society. This is, however, not the case with workers in Nigeria. While those who are freelancers at their various sources of livelihood have found it manageable to continue, those working 9-5 are either choosing to work from home or go back to the office. Some say a preference for working from home is a major reason they’re doing so. Teleworking is slowly becoming the other day. There has been a significant increase since 2020 (from 9% to 17%) in the share saying the fact that they’ve emigrated away from the area where they work is a major reason why they’re currently teleworking.
Working from home is relatively a new experience for a majority of workers with jobs that can be done remotely, more than 50% of people rarely or never worked from home before the coronavirus outbreak. For those who have made the switch to telework, their work lives have changed in some significant ways.
Some people say that they are able to now have a work-life balance. For people living in Lagos, Nigeria who can work from home, staying long hours in traffic to and fro the office, is no longer something that they have to worry about. A few within this category have claimed that productivity levels are higher and they can also schedule time for rest as the time used in traffic is now very much available to them. In some other sectors, there are now roasters to allow workers to work a few days at the office, while they take the same number of days working from home. This has also created a barrier between workers as there has been less connection with co-workers physically.
Regardless of the choices that this has presented to some people and the changes that may have ensued, a lot of people have also gone back to the office. Some say that working in an office environment allows them to concentrate while giving them a sense of being active.
So what do you think? Is it time to go back into the office fully or should work from home remain?
by Ayo Akinola
Ayo Akinola is a tech entrepreneur, public speaker, and motivational life coach.