Working from home: happiness or pain ?
Since the beginning of the Global Pandemic, many people have been working remotely to avoid the spread of the virus. We would think that working from home is such a relief, after a year of perspective, is it that satisfying?.
We have met an accountant of 23 years old, Emilie, who has started working in an accounting firm in Paris a year and an half ago. At first, she was so relieved. She used to say: “I really like working from home because I have everything at home, no one is bothering me and I feel comfortable.” She could avoid traffic, an hour of public transport in terrible conditions, (Paris public transports are not that great). She obviously thought the break would be way nicer at home and she would work less in her place of living compared to the office. She adds : “I feel free to go to my garden and enjoy a bit of sun while I could never at the office.”
Well, a year of perspective made her see the sad reality and I’m telling you : it has not happened in this way. Her managers are giving more work than before, the controls are worse and she doesn’t even have the good part of the job which is meeting her colleagues. “Managers are now asking us to make our planning of the week. Every Monday morning, we therefore have a meeting in order to let us know if they agree with it. At the end of each single day, we have to send an email to all of the managers about what we have done of our day.” New tasks that she didn’t use to do before working from home.
“I expected the job to be hard but something I didn’t see coming was the pressure, and also being watched continuously by my bosses.”
It is likely that managers do not trust their employees, which is why they have found a way to ensure them to work. “As a result, I suffer from a continuous pressure, I am stressing out every day and even more when I am working from home. I know managers are supervising us and watching us, they can know when my computer is on and off. My boss often sends a random chat and I am fully certain that it is simply a way to know if we are connected because they could check the answer by themselves.” This new trend feels like Big Brother.
Working from home seemed thrilling at first, but has become a nightmare a year later. “I am working faster at the office because I am having a lot of distractions at home : family, friends and my cellphone as well. I sometimes end up working at 10 pm because I can’t complete the huge amount of work by finishing at 6.” Emilie says with tiredness.
She was aware before starting this job that being an accountant would be exhausting. She has heard that working in an accounting firm is crazy in term of work schedule. “Something I didn’t see coming was the pressure, and also being watched continuously by my bosses. I wouldn’t have expected my managers to be behind my back that much.” She admits.
“Finally, I’d rather work at the office because we do not feel controlled, managers don’t feel the need to text us and I am working faster. We can laugh between co-workers so there is consequently less pressure and it makes the atmosphere nicer.” regrets Emilie. What a disappointment to see that the happiness of working from home at the beginning of the Covid-19 crisis, was finally far from being better than the office.
Perhaps now is time for companies to improve remote work in order to be productive, and happy at the same time.