How Sustainable is Work from Home?

2020, is a year that will be hard to forget for most of us. Just after the start of this fateful year, we lost one of the biggest stars of the NBA, Kobe Bryant in a helicopter crash. And in late January, countries around the world started to feel the presence of Covid-19. Before 2020, not many of us had an idea of a pandemic. We had read about the Spanish flu, but it was a century-old event and the medical facility of that era was not at all equipped to handle anything like that.

However, with much improved medical facilities, world leaders thought that they could handle this new Coronavirus. But it was something else and by the end of August, this virus has successfully infected millions of people around the world, while a few million lives have also been lost. The worst part is, this virus is leaving some irreparable damages to the human body.

Soon, countries around the planet opted for strict lock-down and quarantine measures to slow down the infection rate. People were banned from traveling or commuting. So, just to reduce the exposure to the virus, companies across our planet opted for work from home models. Before this pandemic situation, work from home was only reserved for very few employees, and for the past few years, there was an increased demand from professionals claiming that remote work is the future.

How-Sustainable-is-Work-from-Home---bizTrailblazer-Blog-2

However, just like any other work model, this work from home model also comes with its own set of advantages and disadvantages. During this phase, few employers noticed, the productivity of employees has gone for a toss in some cases. As there is no way that an employer can determine how many hours an employee has spent working, as this system often permits flexible working hours.

As expected, you can find plenty of pro work from home articles out on the web. However, I will list out a few pointers mentioning why work from home is not feasible for a very long duration;

  •   Reduced Social Interaction: We humans are social animals; we need to socialize a lot. However, with the work from home concept, socializing has reduced to a great extent. Nowadays we are confined to a corner of our house with a laptop or pc, which is leading to much lesser social interaction. Often this low social interaction leads to depression and anxiety. In some of the cases, couples are now stuck at home with no option to go outside, are being forced to engage with each other in different ways. During these already stressful times, these forced conversations are eventually increasing the number of divorces around the planet.
  •   When DNA Changing is Hard: You might argue, there are companies who are working with a remote workforce since their inception. Yes! It’s true, there are companies like that, but that wasn’t forced. It was built into the organization’s DNA from the very beginning. In order to completely convert in a work from a home-based model, one organization needs to bring change in their communication, hiring, planning, meeting, and probably in every aspect. It’s far easy to change the policy of a company, rather than changing the DNA of a company.
  •   You Might Get Lesser Visibility: This happened with me and a few of my other colleagues. Since the start of this pandemic, we started to work from home, while some of my other colleagues continued to work from the office. With time people working from office started to get more visibility, attention, and priority, which increased the tension between the co-workers. While this shouldn’t have happened and there are several ways to improve it, it still happens. So, unless everyone is working from home, it might not be good for your visibility.
  •   Motivating Employees is a Task: Ask me this! I’ve faced this issue, since the first day of lock-down. While working from home there will be few employees who will work just like they used to work in office premises. However, there will be some who will not interact when needed, who will often say that my internet service is down, some will say my laptop is busted, some will not pick up their phones. They have many reasons to convince you that it was not their fault. I don’t blame them while working from office spaces, the environment is completely different than your house. In-office you are much less likely to get distracted, but at home with the presence of your family members and probably your pets, or due to the presence of your PlayStation you have a lot of reasons to be distracted.
  •   Boundaries are Being Broken: Suppose you have a remote workforce that also works from different time zones. Yes! You might have changed your work policies and guidelines, which respects people’s privacy and working hours. But believe me, while you are working from San Francisco and one of your employees is working from New Delhi, there will be exceptions to this rule, and most of the time exceptions become the rule.
  •   On-Boarding is a Problem: Work from home is still doable until you have new employees to join your organization. Logistically it is much more complex and it is also tough for the new joiners to know the team and its work. Above all, it’s hard to understand the company culture, and training them becomes an overall tedious job.

So, here I listed out a few things, which might encourage you to start working from the office instead of working from home. I know that work from home concept might save your time lost due to commuting, but mind it an abrupt change might bring catastrophe rather than peace. A result-oriented work environment should be the final goal of any organization. So, the future work model is likely to be more of a hybrid mixture of work from home and work from the office. 

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