While scrolling through my LinkedIn feed, I came across a post of Microsoft allowing its employees to work from home till October 2020. So one more company along with major giants like Twitter, Google, Amazon etc. has made it clear that working environment is in for a huge transformation no one would have thought of in the near past. Not just on a temporary basis, many organisations like these are considering making remote working as a permanent change. Coming to terms with it, it’s going to be the new normal. Tools like Microsoft Teams, Skype, Zoom, Slack etc. have been facilitating regular interactions and discussions among employees at every level all the more ever since the COVID-19 pandemic has gripped the world.
From a company’s perspective, saving on the humungous monthly leasing & infrastructure or maintenance & administrative costs, access to a wider geographical talent due to remote working etc are some of the reasons which tempt them to take such a major decision. For employees too, it seems to be a win-win. Afterall, employees wish for such days.
It can save a lot of their time and energy otherwise wasted on commuting hassles. No more forcing yourself into crowded metros or driving in never ending traffic. They would rather spend that much needed time with family or taking care of themselves. Of course, not to forget, a lot of money is saved. They can have hour or two of extra sleep and no more formal attire that keeps you uncomfortable all day long. Bliss isn’t it? There are various benefits of working from home such as the ones mentioned above and people around the world are currently enjoying these.
What might be considered as convenient by many, I feel it does have its cons too.
There is less of routine and more of activity as per free will. There are no permanent timings of work. I have heard many of my friends complaining of no fixed hours or few of them working late into the night to cover up for the glitches this remote working has brought with it. Weekly virtual coffee breaks have taken the place of face to face interactions which are otherwise a great source of human connection. Conversations with colleagues during lunch breaks, tea breaks etc. keeps employees motivated and hence help in job satisfaction. Earlier people who used to yearn for work from home opportunity, now definitely there must be few who think that working from office was a much better situation to be in. I guess a lot would agree with me when I say that a lot of productivity and efficiency has taken a back seat due to this.
But in spite of all the negatives, if seen as an opportunity then it can give tremendous returns. It’s the way we perceive it. Adjust to the working styles and routines to come up with the most comfortable and convenient one. Flexi-timings, make the best possible arrangement of work and play. It is up to you how to juggle between various activities that you may want to take care of. Also, there can be days when there is not much work pressure, you can channelise that time in something much more productive than sitting idle in office. Also, it is an opportunity for many to pursue something side by side which they always wanted to. It can be a part-time business, higher studies, a hobby which may require some extra time and effort than normal- anything. It will also provide numerous opportunities to take jobs in different parts of the world. So there is no need of compromising on passion and interests. From the comfort of our homes we can explore various possibilities. All it takes it is consistency and discipline on our end.
For companies, there will be large number of reforms and changes which will be put in place to make it a success. They must analyse all the hindrances and come up with their solutions faced during this time to make it a smooth endeavour. Not just one or two aspects but a birds eye view. It will take a lot of planning at the both ends-employees as well as companies. Else for some it might be a profitable deal but for many it may turn out to be a distressing scenario.
I believe it’s the rule of nature to have balance. Hence, the same balance needs to be maintained in Corporate Environments too. Certainly, WFH is a good idea but if the balance is maintained throughout seeking comfort from both the ends i.e. Employers & Employees. Weekly schedules for availability requirement in office can be set up in offices on rotational basis. Co-Working spaces will get a boost this way by companies investing limited amount of money monthly for a specific number of people. If a job requires face to face interactions co-working spaces come into play in a useful way (with precautions of course). Meetings of highest importance e.g. client interactions can be held at such places. The decision to balance the workforce in offices and remote locations is a crucial one. Once established, it can give good returns to the company and prove to be beneficial to employees.
So is WFH the way forward ? We can welcome it with open arms and make it work for us by working towards it with a little determination so that it proves to be the best for companies as well as employees.