Presently, the world is reeling under the threat of the dreaded Pandemic Covid-19, which has been spreading all across the globe like wild fire. Impact of this disease is witnessed on all facets of life, in all countries and in all industries. As of now, most companies are afraid of fully reopening their offices and getting back to the traditional way of working, as they understand the huge risk involved with that decision. Even a single employee getting infected can wreak havoc in the workplace and it will spell disaster for the entire company. Thus, the only feasible alternative left in this situation for corporations and authorities worldwide is to allow the employees to work from home. As far as working from home is concerned, it is not a new concept. Many organisations have already been practising work from home, from long before the Pandemic, to provide flexibility to their employees in certain situations. In fact, in certain industries, like IT industry, almost everything can be managed from home, including meetings, daily tasks, scrums, follow-ups, etc. However, there are several other sectors like manufacturing industry, Hospitality business, Construction business and others, which cannot afford the flexibility of working from home. Even for those who can, work from home may initially sound like an ideal situation, but in reality, just like working in an office, it comes with its set of pros and cons.
THE PROS : THE POSITIVE ASPECTS OF WORKING FROM HOME
• Flexibility – When a person goes to office, say for a 9 to 5 job, he/she has to remain tied up there for that entire span and cannot handle any other task. But when one works from home, though he/she still needs to meet deadlines, yet one generally has wider bandwidth to attend to other responsibilities, without jeopardising the job.
• Fewer interruptions – While working from home, it is easier to concentrate and get deep into work, without colleagues dropping by and sudden meetings popping up. Limiting unnecessary interruptions from your colleagues and boss is a big plus point of working from home and often leads to more productivity.
• No commute time or expense – You can save a lot of money on conveyance and food and avoid wasting time on commuting, when you work from home. Avoiding traffic battles and long-distance travels help to save a lot of energy, too.
• More time with loved ones – When you are present at home you can take care of a sick family member, spend some more time with your kid or simply eke out some ” me time” and at the same time attend to your professional duties. That is a big advantage.
CONS : THE DEMERITS OF WORKING FROM HOME
• No seperation between work and leisure – The absence of a division between the personal and professional realms can often make you work round the clock as you simultaneously keep on attending to personal and professional demands. Thus you can sometimes feel that you are literally always at work, making it difficult to shift to the post-work relaxation mode.
• Misinterpretation of cues – Instructions or information, can at times, be misinterpreted because it is not delivered in person but via electronic mode of communication. Moreover, there is difficulty of getting the tone right in digital communication system, such as e-mail, chat, social media and text.
• Difficulty to manage and maintain accountability – The basic reason why distributed team differ from co-located teams is because you cannot watch a distributed team in one physical space. There is no chance of getting the team together for a sudden discussion, project post mortem, job allocation and so on. In addition to the difficulty to manage, it can be hard to keep remote workers accountable, because of the lack of ties like camaraderie and friendship.
• Many distractions – Doing the laundry, grocery shopping, cleaning the house, attending the child – 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.