Work From Home: a trend that should continue in the future?
At some point or the other, everyone encounters days when they just don’t want to go to work and stay indoors without exhausting their limited quota of leaves and facing the wrath of their bosses. We all have been there, done that. So much so, that some companies incorporated ‘Work From Home’ in their policies so that employees could have a flexible schedule. However, before the pandemic struck, there were many companies that neither encouraged the ‘Work From Home’ policy nor thought of introducing it in their work culture. Fast forward two years into the pandemic and one would realise that the term ‘Work From Home’ is not only being used regularly but being practised by many.
With the advent of technology, it has become easier for people to set up workstations at homes or nearby cafes and save the commute. With lockdowns and social distancing measures being enforced, businesses and tech-based industries had to revise the way they operated by asking their employees to work from home. At the same time, the education system took a massive hit as personalised learning in schools and colleges was replaced with e-learning and video sessions over the last few months. For some, it became a win-win situation while for others it continues to be a nightmare that they desperately want to end.
In this article, we shall delve deeper to understand how working from home has its pros and cons and what is the consensus about working from home in the current scenario. Does one attain work-life balance by completing the chores on time or does the pressure increase multifold? Is it more beneficial for the employees or the employers? Let’s try to find some answers.
Often, employees complain about hectic work schedules and how being in the office has deprived them of attaining a work-life balance. Commuting often consumes a few hours in the day and energy levels are drained by the time one reaches home. The older you get, the more responsibilities keep piling up. As a result, completing daily chores becomes a task. By the end of the day, one also has to start preparing for the next day and this loop of work, work and just work adds to the stress. However, with the introduction of WFH, one can manage time better and attain the seemingly impossible work-life balance. One can take frequent breaks without being monitored and can plan their activities according to how the day unfolds.
The constrict of time and deadlines is then at the hands of the individual and they can space out their work as per their convenience. Individuals feel more motivated and want to wrap up the work as early as possible which increases productivity. Technology and the internet have made it possible to stay connected at all times. Video calls for meetings, shared drives for uploading work and keeping a tab on the progress, has given the luxury to people to get paid for working in their comfy clothes under their roof. It is not just beneficial for the employees but the employers as well as it helps in saving costs on office space, supplies and miscellaneous expenses.
With a more familiar environment and the additional time that one gets by staying at home, they can exercise, learn more skills, get some sleep or spend more time with family. The advantages seem to be much more at this point, right? Wait until we get to the end of the article.
The biggest disadvantage of working from home is that it doesn’t necessarily suit everyone’s ability or personality. Some people might prefer going to the office, socialising with their co-workers and be productive in a designated work environment and not a make-shift one. Some employees may find it difficult to work without the guidance of their seniors and may find it tough to approach their peers constantly.
If you have a family that has an infant, it gets difficult to segregate workspace and personal space as the lines get intertwined. Children may interrupt and distract them from fulfilling their tasks efficiently. Even if one person is MIA, the work gets disrupted and chasing them becomes the order of the day. Video calls and text messages may ease the problems but that is no substitute for face-to-face communication.
The defined time frame of working hours can go for a toss as some companies feel that the employees are not working and need constant reminders throughout the day. At times, personal space gets invaded as people keep pinging constantly even post office hours to get the work done. Switching off then becomes difficult and the work pressure has adverse effects.
While not everyone needs constant monitoring, there are some individuals who end up misusing the situation and procrastinate work or find ways to remain absent during crunch hours. The team working with such individuals, and the company, overall, suffers as work gets compromised. Also, not all jobs are suitable for work from home and new joinees need to be under constant vigil.
After listing down the advantages as well as the disadvantages, one thing that’s clear is that working from home has saved a lot of businesses during the pandemic. The option of employees assisting from home and employers not having to shut down operations has encouraged upcoming as well as established businesses to incorporate this mode of approach in their working schemes.
While it is a practical option and will surely be adopted as well as enhanced in the future, some employees have misused the liberties that have made companies and businesses sceptical about providing these luxuries. Ideally, a company leader would still want his or her employees to turn up for work and not use this option unless there’s no other alternative available. We all have been exposed to working from home in some way or the other during the pandemic and that has helped not just the individuals but the leaders as well to plan better for the future.
Personally, I would love the option of working from home. Some companies even allow working two days from home in a month. This way, one can combine the WFH option and make most of the weekends.