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Bruins in Paris

Rise in remote, hybrid work shifts expectations among new, existing labor force

By Kathalia Wong/Daily Bruin

By Bryana Plata

June 10, 2024 12:07 a.m.

The traditional office has transformed into a digital workspace for many workers following the COVID-19 pandemic. As many companies worldwide continue to support working from home, new graduates question whether remote work is the new norm.

The shift from working in person to working remotely has been beneficial for many who find more flexibility and better work-life balance in the latter. However, the change to remote work can have drawbacks, such as isolation and blurred boundaries between work and personal life.

Recruitment and admissions manager at the Marshall Teacher Residency and alumnus Metztli Garcia said she gravitated toward positions with a healthy work-life balance during her job search because she wanted to have time for her hobbies and avoid being consumed by work. She added that she currently experiences many benefits of remote work, including time to fulfill family responsibilities and saving on costs of commuting.

I have to take my brother to school to help my family and it gives me that flexibility because I can just block off the time I’m taking my brother to school and my team is very like understanding of that,” Garcia said.

According to a study published in Pew Research Center, 71% of remote workers say it helps them balance their work and personal life, and 34% say they would choose to work from home all the time if given the choice.

On the other hand, remote work has its drawbacks, such feelings of isolation and hampered productivity.

According to a study published in Emerald Insight, a disadvantage of remote work is the lack of in-person interactions which can lead to feelings of isolation, detachment from colleagues and reduced networking ​opportunities.

Garcia said it was easier for her to find a community during college than after graduating. Due to her remote job limiting in-person interactions, she said she has had to put in more effort to find social spaces.

“As an extroverted person, I feed off of people’s energy,” Garcia said. “Sometimes I feel really isolated so that’s why I really have to find a way outside of work to find those communities.”

Garcia added that another challenge is ensuring tasks are completed in a timely manner, given distractions are more easily accessible at home.

“Working from home, I can lay in my bed and I can watch TV and there’s a lot more distractions,” Garcia said.

Despite the appeal of remote work for many, some may prefer working in person to be more engaged in their work.

For example, the feasibility of remote work varies by profession as patient-focused jobs are more effectively performed in person. For example, alumnus Alan Cornejo said his interest in research, specifically in conducting clinical trials for neurodegenerative diseases, requires hands-on, in-person interactions.

“A lot of my work is patient-oriented, patient-focused,” Cornejo said. “Because we’re delivering health information, delivering that information to a patient in person is a lot more effective than doing that on the screen.”

Despite the efficacy of in-person work for his job, Cornejo said that his job may transition to the hybrid setting in congruence with the increasing number of hybrid positions across the job market.

The hybrid setting, another format of work enduring since the pandemic, combines working a few days online with a few days in the office in a regular business week.


Andrew Gonzalez, a third-year economics student and previous finance intern at KPMG, said he worked on a hybrid basis for an internship program.

“I do believe in the social aspect of going into work and talking to people,” Gonzalez said. “But at the same time, some days I don’t necessarily want to go to work.”

For individuals like Gonzalez, the hybrid work format allows for the ability to better balance multiple priorities like social interactions, mental health and time management. Despite the benefits, Gonzalez added that the flexibility of hybrid work resulted in different team members having varying schedules, causing difficulties in coordinating collaborative in-person experiences for the team.

“Since I’m an intern, I’m really trying to meet as many people as I can,” Gonzalez said. “A lot of people that were on my team weren’t in the office all the time.”

Despite its downsides, Gonzalez added that he sees hybrid work becoming the new standard work format as new technologies adopted during the COVID-19 pandemic like Zoom has changed the way work is conducted.

While hybrid work has gained popularity due to its flexibility, understanding individual work preferences remains important. According to Handshake, Gen Z views flexibility as the new standard for jobs, with many undergraduate students gravitating toward some work being in person. However, 82% believe remote work should be an option and 70% say they are more likely to apply for jobs that offer a flexible schedule, according to the same source.

While some jobs require employees to be fully onsite now, Garcia said personal preference is becoming increasingly valued in the workplace. She added that as a recruiter, she hopes students recognize they have the power to ask their recruiter for flexibility in negotiating things like working style.

“Younger people are so much more interested in having multiple passions rather than just doing one nine-to-five,” Garcia said. “Because of post-COVID, we’re learning that you can still get work done without having to make other sacrifices.”

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