We’re all finally getting out of our homes and makeshift workplaces and, in a sense, returning from fully remote working to hybrid in the office. At My TechDecisions, the editorial team goes to the office two days a week to get started. For my part, I’m thrilled that I can now leave my little office in my house for the big, wide-open office (with real people inside!).

On some of those trips to the office, I remembered why I hate driving on Metro-Boston: the traffic. Sure, I can catch up on a few podcasts and get my brain ready for work, but I also have to avoid terrible Massachusetts drivers and the long Dunkin thoroughfares that open onto the street on a busy stretch of road.

So the days I work from home have taught me to enjoy the hybrid work flexibility.

As companies begin to adopt their hybrid work strategies and double the remote workload, the word “flexibility” becomes more important, especially as we suddenly realize how much psychological stress isolation from the rest of the world requires.

Continue reading: How Remote Working Has Affected IT

I contend that what we did last year and the first half of this year was not remote work. It was quarantine. Yes, we worked remotely, but we didn’t have a choice. In fact, we were forced to stay inside and were constantly reminded to work as we passed our company-issued laptop on the kitchen table. Flexibility was not included.

According to a study by TELUS International from October 2020 among 1,000 American employees, 80% find it difficult to “switch off” after work. More than half have had a mental health day since starting work from home due to the pandemic, half say their sleep patterns have been interrupted due to the quarantine, and 97% say they need vacation days to recharge at home.

Imagine if you could never leave the office. We did that in 2020, and it wasn’t remote work. That was quarantine.

Remote work means being able to work from home and pick up a slice from the local pizzeria and then log off around 5 p.m. and hit the gym. That doesn’t mean you are locked in your home during the worst global health crisis in years.

For companies that support a hybrid work model, make sure flexibility is a cornerstone of your remote work policy. We all want to leave 2020 behind.