As we have all experienced firsthand, the COVID-19 pandemic has abruptly challenged each and every workplace in Bahrain. Some have already reopened their offices, while others are planning to bring their employees back gradually over the coming weeks.
After months of working from home, the idea of returning to the office will feel challenging to many. Convenience and productivity are two of the main reasons why residents prefer to continue working remotely.
“The health of my family are my main concern and will not will not be gambled by someone else’s lack of adherence to precautionary measures.” Shaheen, a citizen who currently works from home said.
Safety issues aside, many people say they have experienced increased productivity and better time management while working from home. Ann, who works for an advertising company, said “I prefer to work from home because I feel it saves a lot of time if you’re focused on the task at hand.”
While many want to stay at home, some are also eager to work in the office.
Sam, a designer said working in Seef, “I like being in the office as it sets the mood for working better. There are no distractions from the kids and it also saves electricity consumption.”
“I believe it’s generally better to separate home from work, and it’s easier to work as a team when we are together in the office.”, he added.
As many workers in the Kingdom near the six-month mark of working remotely, those who have done their jobs from home say they have adjusted to change but miss interacting with people.
“Personally, I prefer working in the office most days as I’m closer to the team. It also provides a better environment and more productivity.” Peter, who works for a media production agency said.
Why Not Both?
Almost all residents that we’ve interviewed prefer a hybrid/mixed working setup. According to them, working from home and Zoom meetings are a poor substitute for across-the-table, personal meetings with people. Furthermore, they want to see a flexible system in which people go to the office for tasks that are better done there and work from home for the rest of the time.
Are “Offices” Going to Disappear?
Some large office buildings may have to downsize because of the popularity and success of working remotely. However, we don’t think that offices will disappear; it will only require a fresh, new approach. People will still need places where they can come together, connect, build relationships, and develop their careers.
Ultimately, an efficient work culture can never be created in an unsafe or uncomfortable environment.