Work From Home: A Norm or Choice?

Lockdowns and quarantine around the world have left professionals with no choice but to adapt the shift to working remotely or from home. Though, this scenario of functioning is a necessity today due to the precautionary actions levied by governments to prevent mass spreading, what is the future of this system after the COVID-19 crisis subsided? Will it become a norm that many companies will set to follow or will return to standard preference?

Work from Home

Here is the list of pros and cons to help you decide.

Pros:

Work-Life Balance:

The struggle to maintain a healthy balance between work & personal life is faced by a majority of the people worldwide. With the implementation of remote working, employees feel more satisfied with their job and hence will reduce the attrition rate and improve the quality of work. From a long term perspective, it is beneficial for employers since the cost and effort undertaken in hiring will reduce while a constant level of productivity is observed. It will also help boost the organization in being agile and adopting modern methods of working, which will enable them to attract good talent from the market.

More Women in the Workforce

Work from home eliminates the need for traveling, a hassle that restrains many women from taking up a corporate role. Since WFH has become a highly adopted trend in the corporate world, more women are entering the workforce as the time saved in travel will help in balancing work and home duties. This flexibility will enable the organizations to improve their gender distribution ratio and bring in much-needed diversity. As many studies have suggested, the attrition rate of women at the workplace is lower than that of men. The productivity of companies and their turnover ratio will improve in both the short and long term.

Economic Efficiency & Higher Employee Productivity:

Cost-saving is a prime factor attributing to the adoption of WFH. Major costs undertaken by corporates in terms of rent, proper ventilation and air conditioning, transportation of staff, furnishing, office supplies, and power consumption are set to reduce drastically as maximum employees start working remotely. Employees will take fewer sick leaves as it will reduce travel exertion and help in getting work done more efficiently. As employees spend more time with their family and on their hobbies, their need to take vacation also reduces, which improves overall productivity.

Team collaboration tools provide the ability to interact with clients and colleagues without traveling and also diminishes the cost undertaken in setting up IT and Software systems. The expenses related to these tools are lower in comparison to the savings provided by it, and can be as inexpensive as basic Saas models. The trend of bring your own device to work is increasingly adopted, and the use of cloud storage and cloud collaboration tool is making a more conducive environment for enabling work from home.

Cons

Restricted Scope

Several roles involve the handling of confidential and sensitive client information, which would face a higher threat of security breach and leak of information if shared with employees. Monitoring the dissemination of such information will also become more difficult as the team working on it is not confined to a single location. For work of such nature, WFM is undoubtedly a no go and will not be a viable option in the near future.

Cyber security software used by corporates can help reduce the threat of data breach, damage, and unauthorized access, and is the most efficient solution to the issues faces by the organizations. However, a safer implementation of the same is in an office setup. Even though this can be established over a remote working system, the level of threat faced is higher than that in a confined workspace.

Threat to Corporate Culture

The development of meaningful work relations between employees is crucial for the efficient working of an organization and maintenance of stable work culture. Face to face interactions and integrated working serves as a catalyst to build strong employee relations. Building such a culture in a WFH model is a difficult task, and will be a practical point of consideration against its implementation in the long run.

To some extend, unified communication tools bring a comprehensive communication system to enable remote working, and is the closest replacement to face to face interaction, which helps in developing a sense of shared culture among colleagues.

Discipline and Performance Monitoring:

Checking up on employees and keeping tabs on their work becomes tedious for managers when employees work from the comfort of their home. The quality produced through a brainstorming session among a team working on a project also cannot be matched by the discussions on zoom calls or emails. Besides, misuse of resources, undertaking personal work, and communication gap can create difficulties in day to day functioning.

So, what’s your take on the situation?