As the covid-19 pandemic is still on, the Work from Home culture is increasing. The Work from Home practice has been implemented in almost all the countries across the globe. This social experiment is here to stay, and it is not going away anytime soon. Well, is it good or bad for the well-being of the employees of the company? You can consider looking at both the pros and cons of Work from Home culture and decide for yourself.
Some of the pros of Work from Home culture:
Better employee satisfaction:
Research shows that most people are happy to trade the five minutes of any task for one less minute they spend in traffic. The Work from Home culture reduces the stress for employees as they don’t have to travel for long hours. Working from home allows employees to spend more time with their loved ones and take care of their errands. They don’t need to sacrifice productivity to pursue something that they would feel interested in. The employees can invest some time in their hobbies and ensure they strike a perfect work-life balance to maintain their productivity.
Working from home can lead to stress associated with Work as there are no limits to the time one is supposed to work. Employees feel isolated as they cannot meet their colleagues in person and have to focus on work cooped up inside the house.
Enhanced productivity: Employees find it relatively easy to focus on their job and get their work done without any distractions of chattering colleagues or a generally busy office environment. The employees find it easier to concentrate on work and meet all the deadlines when they are
working from home. This has led to an increase in overall employee productivity.
Savings in terms of expenses: Working from home also helps save a lot of money for both the employees and the company. For instance, the unoccupied office’s heating and cooling cost is way less than maintaining the working office with employees. Additionally, the wear and tear on
the infrastructure reduce drastically, which is a massive cost reduction.
Many IT companies are planning to permanently switch to the work from home mode which would result in tremendous savings in real estate overheads. Employees can also save money on fuel and food expenses by eating at home. These small savings go a long way as every penny counts amid the pandemic outbreak.
Some of the cons of the Work from Home culture:
Communication is not easy- Remote work is relatively easy with the tremendous technological developments, including zoom apps for video meeting and group chatting apps and telephones and emails. But not all employees find it comfortable to appear on the video calls, and after
hours of zoom meeting, even the most confident employee tends to get burned out.
Additionally, zoom fatigue is the latest phenomenon that is playing with the health of the people. Companies should consider helping their employees in terms of digital communication stress, by reducing the number of online meetings. Also, they need to ensure that employees have ample time between each zoom call and telephonic call so they can stretch around and exercise a little bit. No matter how much an employee appreciates Work from Home culture, one thing is for sure that constant zoom meetings will deplete their energies in no time.
Low employee morale: Workspace tends to promise a sense of shared purpose with colleagues. Ideally, the workplace is all about a community. But when employees work in isolation in their own space, they feel like they are all alone, which leads them to lose sight of what it is all for and disengage from Work and colleagues. Additionally, working from home also makes it challenging to build relationships with some of the co-workers. There are fewer chances of meeting people or bonding over activities, including lunches and happy hours or just one-to-one conversations, which aren’t just limited to work. The company needs to ensure that employees
enjoy their social life, as it enhances team-building and gives a morale boost to employees.
Poor health habits: Physical health is most likely to suffer when the routines get disrupted. The usual gym session is also neglected as gyms are shut these days to curb the widespread of the deadly virus COVID-19, and thanks to which people are getting very lazy. The employees tend to lead a disorganized life where they procrastinate during the day and sleep late as they fear missing deadlines.
Work from home experts suggests that it is essential for employees to develop a routine for working from home, so fitness is not neglected. It can be all about starting the day on time and building a schedule, including exercising and sticking to a fixed diet. Also, employees can stay
fit and healthy at home by investing in budget-friendly gym equipment.
Unable to focus- No doubt a few employees feel that the home environment is perfect to work and get Work done in no time, but some employees are easily distracted at home by children or spouses. It becomes difficult to stay away from the news or social media which disturbs people and the anxiety caused by the grim news distracts them from work. Hence experts say
employees need to follow some exercises which can help them to focus on their Work.
Employees miss social bonding at work- When employees work from home, they tend to interact with their colleagues only through virtual platforms, which doesn’t help build professional relationships the way the office environment does.
When the newly joined candidates are forced to interact with the existing team, they might not feel comfortable, especially virtual communication. Social interaction is correlated to employee workplace engagement and satisfaction. The company needs to keep an eye on the communication process, especially in the digital era.
Employees emotional well-being suffers- Work from Home culture sounds impressive in the beginning. Still, with time, it tends to significantly impact the employees’ mental health as humans are said to be social creatures. People tend to feel depressed when they are alone and
don’t find anyone besides them.
Additionally, remote working causes a lot of anxiety among employees. As per a recent study, it was concluded that lack of trust and connection could also hamper employee productivity. Remote working employees are likely to suffer from office politics. It is mainly because they stress about what their colleagues would say behind their back and if their work performance is good or bad.
It is challenging to build enthusiasm- It is pretty challenging to motivate employees virtually. It is mainly because there is no social engagement, or activities that can virtually connect with employee emotions. The interactions over the online platform end up being very transactional.
In conclusion, it can be said that work from home culture offers many benefits to the employee, like getting more flexibility, avoiding the traffic jam, and remaining free of all the office distractions. Even though it has saved us from the pandemic, many pros and cons indeed cannot be neglected. Although it became a necessity, it is not a perfect substitute for offline work. Once this pandemic passes, companies can experiment with getting the right balance between Work from Home and Office to make sure employees get the benefits of both the forms.
Written By : Dr. Roma Puri
Designation : Associate Professor – Organizational Behaviour and
Human Resource Management
Dr. Roma Puri has more than a decade of teaching experience. Her domain has been Organizational Behaviour and HRM. She has taught courses at the graduate and post-graduate levels. In addition to teaching regular courses at B-schools, she has been teaching HRM-related courses in the Career Oriented Programme offered by St. Xavier’s College. With a keen interest in Behavioural Sciences, she has gone through intensive group process training from the Indian Society for Applied Behavioural Sciences, attended Group Relations Conference, and offered several programmes in this area.