Getting ready to go to the office each morning, scrambling for the car keys, booking an Ola or Uber or rushing to catch the metro seems like a dream now. Everything changed almost overnight with the call for a complete lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic across the world. Life was thrown out of gear and social distancing became the new norm.
The outbreak of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) and the subsequent workfromhome imperatives and lockdowns have led to significant economic disruptions around the world.
Indians and people across the world are now getting used to catching up with friends and relatives over video calls, standing a few feet apart from each other when at the grocery stores or even chatting with their neighbours. The biggest change for many has been the concept of working from home. Almost the entire workforce of the country is doing that now.
Basically, working from home is not the dream come true it’s made out to be. In fact, it can be quite harmful to your psyche. It has many pros and cons and apart from this, it required a lot of effort, planning and dedication to effectively execute work from home.Here we will discuss thefollowing pointers and try to conclude this debate that whether it is beneficial to work from home or you might deny working remote and start commuting to your office daily:
- How the entire world is thinking and acting upon the Concept of Work from Home?
- Should you work from home or shouldn’t you or work from the office is better than work from home?
- Pros and Cons of Working From Home
- Prerequisites for Effectively Managing Work From Home
1) How the entire world is thinking and acting upon the Concept of Work From Home?
- HR heads of major companies say WFH is a “trial run on a big scale” and a “silver lining in the whole calamity”.
- “WFH is poised to become an increasingly acceptable norm as we have seen in many countries,” says Ramkumar Ramamoorthy, chairman, Cognizant India.
- Joydeep Dutta Roy, head, strategic HR and HR integration at Bank of Baroda, and Sandeep Kohli, partner and talent leader at EY India, see WFH as a factor in increasing ease of doing business and cutting costs.
- Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg in April had said that it would require most of its employees to work remotely till the end of May, allowing only a smaller percentage of employees to come to the office sooner.
- Google Employees have also been told to expect work from home for the remainder of year, but it will open its offices in June or July for those who need it.
- Union IT Minister of Government of India Shri Ravi Shankar Prasadhas also extended the workfromhome facility for IT employees till July 31 last week and told state ministers that work fromhome should become the new norm.
- Even HCL Tech follows TCS and Infosys’ Lead – says 50% of its employees will work from home even after the lockdown is lifted.
2) Should you work from home or shouldn’t you or work from the office is better than work from home?
In my opinion, it honestly comes down to the environment you’ll be most effective in, along with the industry you’re in along with how nice your home office is.
If we go industry specificthen work from home is very much feasible for IT Industry, Service Industry, etc but what about Manufacturing Industry? Can you imagine a product or article being made without zero manual involvement? Infact, you can, yes..!! but might be in future, say in 2030.
In future human race definitely will become so advance that almost every operation will be based on robotic operations backed by a superb and smart artificial intelligence. But unfortunately, we are in 2020 fighting with this COVID 19 pandemic.
Let’s come back to the discussion on Work from Home, atleast in those industries and geographical areas where the same is very much feasible.
Before taking the plunge, the very first step being an individual you just undertake before adopting this new work culture would be discussing with your co-workers, friends, and the people in your network, especially people who work in similar industries. Among your acquaintances who have worked from home, what challenges have they faced? Have they seen a real improvement in their work-life balance and overall quality of life? What have they unexpectedly found they missed?
Let’s have a comprehensive look at the real work from home pros and cons and see what is behind this popular job trend or culture.
3) Pros and Cons of Working from Home
a) Pros of Working from Home
Flexible Schedule -You have the flexibility to take care of all appointments and all works whether official or personal as the case may be.
Comfortability– No need to follow any dress code and daily wasting your time in choosing what to wear.
Save Money and Time– There is no need to worry for commute time and travelling expenses. Further Most importantly you get a relief from daily traffic battles.
No office distractions– There are fewer interruptions in Home as compared to office from unnecessary meetings and chit chat of your colleagues.Beneficial for such people who loves to work in peace and don’t want to compromise with their efficiency and productivity and obviously if your employer allows so.
More time with your loved ones – Since you do not have to waste your precious time commuting anymore, you can also spend it with your family or friends or other loved ones. If you have a flexible work schedule, you can also watch your parents andkids.
Healthy Life – No more daily commutes& a reduced level of stress can result in better& peaceful sleep. In addition, you will eat healthier and exercise more. The increased work/life balance makes you happier and more satisfied than ever before. Studies have even shown that remote workers don’t getsick as often. Not only because they live healthier, but also because they are not exposed to countless germs and bacteria you will find in a closed office environment.
Reduced Stress–If you will be able to generate above pros by working from home then definitely its going to reduce your stress a lot.
Power Naps – This could arguably be in advantageousas it refresh you completely resulting into more productivity and efficiency unless it accidentally lasts 45 minutes or even more after stuffing yourself with a bunch of dishes in lunch or sometimes in snacks also.
b) Cons of Working from Home
No Human Interactions/ Lack of Social Interactions – Although you will have calls and online meetings with your clients or team members every now and then but nevertheless at the same time you will be home alone most of the time.The lack of social interactions can be really hard for some people who are really fond of office chit chats. Infact, no quick coffee breaks, no lunch together, no exchanging weekend plans with your colleagues might be painful for most of the extroverts.
Co-workers might accuse you of slacking–When you work from home and can’t get to a call or email right away, your co-workers may not give you as much leeway as they might if you were in the office. People might wonder if you are taking it easy rather than pulling your weight. “The onus is basically on the individuals who are working fromhome in terms of what they’re planning, what they’re doing and what they’re accomplishing alongwith specifying those areas in which they’re failing or facing problems which has been given to them by their Colleagues or Manager or Boss as the case may be”.
Hard to Switch Off – You sleep at home. You work at home. Sometimes it is hard to separate private life and professional life. You are not dependent on office hours and can literally work from early morning until late at night. Your whole life revolves around your work. In nutshell, there is no physical separation between work and leisure time.
If you like your job, you might not see that as a disadvantage in the beginning. But soon you could burn out because your work and private lives became one.
Relationships are harder to form – It is hard to establish trust and develop relationships with your boss, managers, colleagues and clients when you don’t have a daily face-to-face connection.
Many Distractions– Just quickly do the laundry, go grocery shopping, clean the house, and maybe watch the newest episode of your favourite Netflix series? Potential distractions are everywhere when you work from home. It really takes a lot of discipline to focus on your job and actually get things done.
Decrease in Productivity/ Efficiency – Distractions while working leads to a decrease in productivityor efficiency also. It is great when you don’t have a boss looking over your shoulder all day long. But some people won’t be able to get much work done without that bit of pressure.Either there are too many distractions or a lack of motivation or the missing feeling that this is actually a working day – productivity can be a huge issue when working from home.
Boredom – Working from home can also results into boredom especially when you stay away from your family or in those cases where even you stay with your family, but your family is out of town for some occasion or reasons. In those cases, you might feel to opt for working from office so as to get out of this boredom.
Unhelathy Life Style– Some people love to work while lying on the couch all day. Sooner or later this will surely cause you terrible back pain.If you work all day and don’t leave your house, you are not doing your body any favour. So, a major con of working from home is you might land yourself into an unhealthy life style.
Bad Reputation – This is one of the most annoying con of working from home. People and society just don’t value it as much as an in office job. You even won’t be able to count how much often your family, friends and neighbours will ask you “So, when will you finally get a REAL JOB again?” or “Could you do (insert any random 3-4 hour long task) today? You’re at home anyway and have time.”
Although you might be working way more hours than you did before, people just don’t see it as work. Very frustrating..!!
4) Prerequisites for Effectively Managing Work From Home
Effectively Managing Work from Home in itself is a challenge, sometimes seems easy, feasible and advantageous but it has its own limitations and challenges.In case you want to opt for Working from home, then I would like to suggest you following prerequisites that will help you make most out of your choice of working from home.
- Be Responsive – Get in the habit of sending a prompt reply whenever you get an email, even if it is just to say, “Got it,” or, “I’ll get back to you by noon”. And, do your best to be available for conference calls or other collaborations, even if you don’t have strict work hours.
- Set specific touchpoints with your team – It’s smart to set a time each day/week for regular check-ins with your boss or manager or colleagues. That will not only help you stay accountable, but it will also remind your office counterparts that you’re still an important part of the team.
- Self Discipline–This is the most important perquisite and if you lack this ability then I would like you to literally say good bye to your plans of working from home. You need to have a lot of self-discipline to effectively perform work from home.
- Focus – You need to be able to stay focused and not get distracted easily from every small distractions which generally exists in home.
- Time Management–It is a prerequisite as well as challenge in case you want to Work from Home. You should be great in Time Management in case you are willing to Work From Home.
- Hybrid Structure – Sometimes its very annoying to completely staying in home for a long time. Being an introvert is not cool enough every time and may lead to stress, anxiety and depression also. My idea is to adopt a hybrid approachin this case by visiting your officeon regular intervals, saytwice a week. Visiting office, having lunch and coffee break with your colleagues, discussing your weekend plans and off course that silly chit chats once a while after regular intervals could be a stress reliver and eventually can give a sharp momentum to your efficiency and productivity.
- You need to be organized, structured& most importantly very professional and mature enough to understand that this comfort has come with its own limitations associated with your responsibilities and obligations.
- You need to be able to work on your own without constant supervision.
So, whether Work from Home is a Reward or Punishment depends on many facts and circumstances.In my opinion it’s really hard to conclude this topic or everlasting debate. Just like two sides of a coin, here also there are two sides. On one side, there is more time, more money, more flexibility, healthy life, etc whereas on the other side, there’s social and professional isolation, Lack of Productivity, Boredom, anxiety, depression,etc.
Some important things to consider are what environment you stay focused in the longest, how long it takes you to get back on track, and how you best communicate. If you’re self-motivated, introverted, self disciplinedadhere to a well routine, and enjoy minimal distractions, then working from home might be “your cup of tea” whereas If you thrive on social interactions, feel inspired by seeing others working, and stay on track best if others see you, then you might regret going remote or working from home.
The above content is integrated from various websites and reports and is true and correct according to best of the Author’s knowledge but at the same time, it could be prone to errors and might have some other missing key information. The same has been prepared to give a brief understanding of the scenario, situation or topic along with related improvements and impacts. So, keep it for simple guidance or as an understanding tool as Author does not assume any liability which may incur to anyone around the globe due to the content published above. Furthermore, conclusion drawn if any by the Author is based on his personal understanding free from any biasness whether imparted byon his own or by any third party specifically for causing any benefit or loss to any individual, group, community, religion, etc around the globe.