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Airbnb announces staff can work from anywhere - here are the pros and cons

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With Covid-19 making work from home the new norm, its no surprise that one of the world's most well-known companies, Airbnb, has now made it permanent.

Brian Chesky, founder and CEO of Airbnb stated “You have the flexibility to live and work in 170 countries for up to 90 days a year in each location,” he said.

This momentous decision comes as other companies start trying to convince staff to return to the office for a few days a week, which has lead some workers to quit.

In Hong Kong, whilst the recent lockdown has delayed a return to office work - our sentiment follows global trends.

So what do Hong Kongers think of working from anywhere?

According to this study, over 80% of Hong Kong workers preferred to continue to work from home for 1 to 2 days per week when the current coronavirus crisis is over. Here are some reasons why:

1. Improved work-life balance

Work-life balance has always been an important factor when choosing a company to work at, and working from home makes that lifestyle all the more possible. Working from home helps us balance out the time we spend working with the time we spend enjoying everything else in life; whether that's family, friends, or hobbies.

2. Reduced work stress

When you factor in the convenience of being in familiar surroundings, having more control over our environment, productivity from working remotely can skyrocket. Plus, there are also more opportunities to take essential breaks, which psychologists claim helps with overall performance, motivation, and creativity, among other things.

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3. More time to work — but also more time to rest

If done effectively, working from home can save you a great deal of time — no need for a lengthy commute or getting-ready! This way, people have more time to focus on work right away, and clock out right away as well. Days are spent more effectively, with no time wasted.

4. Money savings

Whether it's on transportation or food near your workplace, spending money is an inevitable part of going to work. Thus, the money saved when working from home is a big pro to this new norm.

5. Positive environmental impact

One of the fastest and cheapest ways for people to reduce their carbon footprint is by reducing commuter travel. Not only does this avoid greenhouse gases, but it also saves oil and stops climate change.

Although, if you ask anyone working from home, they’ll agree it is not without its challenges, and we list down some of those here as well.

1. Lack of office hardware & software

Access to office equipment was cited by 30% of survey respondents as a drawback of working from home. If your job requires the use of specific equipment, recreating this setting at home may be tough. Even with today's accessibility for electronic equipment, a high-end laptop or computer and a high-speed printer can set you back a lot of money.

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2. Household chores distractions

Working from home means working in between daily tasks at home as well; whether that's having to wash dishes after eating, doing laundry, the list goes on. This is why household chores may be a distraction while working. It's important to set daily schedules for little mundane tasks at home so the workflow isn't disrupted.

3. Easily disturbed by family members, children or other household members during work

While working from home may make our life easier, it also brings in some obstacles. Disruptions are not limited to the office, as anyone who has had their precious thoughts or an important conference call interrupted by children, other family members, or even by the doorbell.

4. Unclear division of a workplace and a home

With no clear division of where you should start working and where you should start resting, some people may find working from home more difficult, and this soon leads to motivational challenges. The bedroom becomes the workplace, and soon people find themselves juggling between rest and work with no systemized schedule and no enthusiasm to create one.

5. Difficulty with timely communication with colleagues

With everyone working from home (or anywhere), having conflicting schedules and differing timezones is unavoidable. A trick is to make sure everyone in your team stays on track and is focused. Have short discussions frequently on current to-do lists and settle tasks together. Also, appearing on video calls help people feel more at the office — so the working spirit is much higher!