The New Normal of Remote Work

Everyone has probably heard the phrase ‘the new normal’ since the COVID-19 outbreak. Every aspect of our lives has changed. At the front and center of this new normal is remote work. We’ve kept businesses running by creatively serving customers and clients while ensuring people are safe while working. From the breakdown of old structures emerges a new way of navigating life–a new normal. 

A seismic shift in work and home life

Our work and home life quickly became intertwined. Many people started working from home for the first time, and rather abruptly, to ensure social distancing measures are followed. Schools and child care facilities closed and classrooms moved online. This means working parents were doing double duty to fulfill their job and homeschool and care for their kids. 

The pandemic has created new stressors for all of us. But many workers report feeling reduced stress for work-related things associated with going to an office. Typical workday routines like getting ready and out the door (add even more stress if you have to worry about getting kids ready and out the door, too) and a commute have been eliminated by working at home. This means we can spend less time getting ready for the office and have more time for ourselves. What could you do with an extra 5-10 hours a week? 

On the other hand, there are challenges with working at home, especially if there are kids in the house all the time. But people are making it work by being flexible and adjusting expectations. That has to happen in this new normal. The workday and workflow won’t look like it did at the office because we’re not at the office. Leaders and teams are getting used to this and finding that staying connected virtually is also important. 

Rumblings were occurring before the pandemic

Even before the pandemic, remote work was on the rise, with more than one-third of the U.S population doing remote work. In the absence of the office culture, workers have started to migrate to remote working spaces to combat loneliness and create connections. In the middle of a pandemic, though, this isn’t an option. Workers simultaneously crave office culture while enjoying the benefits of remote work. As states ease shelter-in-place restrictions, and office workers ease back into the office, everyone is considering how to navigate this new normal.

How can public libraries help remote workers?

Public libraries have a lot to offer to the remote work community. Freelancers, contractors, or small offices that don’t have a physical office and would like to meet in person occasionally, could all benefit from frequenting the library. The library provides private workrooms for individuals and groups to use. The system is similar to checking out a book, simply reserve the room or show up and request one once it’s available. And there are plenty of desks and chairs scattered around the library for patrons to use for remote work. Stopping by your favorite coffee shop in the morning before heading to the library to work sounds like a nice change of pace for remote workers. Sometimes a change of scenery or just being around other like-minded people can inspire creativity and boost productivity.

As libraries begin to navigate the next phase of COVID-19, they could consider this opportunity to serve the community. With proper social distancing and disinfecting practices in place, remote work at the public library would further solidify the community’s need for libraries. 

Usings WiFi insights provided by our Library Edition would help libraries prove the effectiveness of remote work initiatives.  If you’re curious to learn more about how this works, schedule a demo with our team.