How Much Work is Work-from-Home?

By Lokendra Ranawat, CEO, Wooden Street

Work-from-Home appears like a plausible, win-all solution to the daily routine that we have accepted without second thoughts, giving a sense of freedom that we hardly realize in day-to-day living. This major shift has already made home in our lives, and with various tech giants embracing remote workingfor future, it appears as if we have found the perfect way to balance work and life in our comfort zones. Or so it seems.

Remote working has long been the path practiced by freelancers, home-engaged employees (such as mothers) and those who prefer solitary work and don’t have many dependencies. But lately, it has been catching traction across the world, with many people preferring to opt for an initial stage of work-from-home when joining an organisation.

Two Sides of the Same Coin

Barring all the infrastructural and internet-related hurdles that companies and Individuals face, working-from-Home presents a completely different front of engagement as opposed to the usual office structure.

There are some major benefits attached with this new practice – both for employees and organisations:

  • Zero Commute: When working remotely, a person doesn’t have to step out of their home, reducing the time and fuel spent in to-and-fro commute to zero.
  • Flexible Schedule: A person can choose to schedule tasks that would otherwise be left out when in office, and build their working hours around their priorities, either for home or for learning something new.
  • Boost to Morale: For many, home represents a place where we find mental peace, a place where every comfort that they have grown up with is close at hand. This gives a significant boost to self-confidence, and makes employees happier.
  • Greater control& focus: As it slowly becomes habitual to work remotely, things start to fall in place. When at home, you’re in your element, and that gives you greater control to focus on the task at hand and prioritising what needs to be tackled when.
  • Saving on Office Space: Depending onyour business, having majority or all of the workforce working remotely can help you cut significantly on office space and maintenance, especially in metro cities where physical space and services come with a hefty price tag. This can help in channelling resources towards promotion, IT infrastructure, product development, and more.
  • Larger Skill Pool: Employers can extend their reach to hire better skill pool across the globe, rather than just relying on who’s available locally. An employee working-from-home for your organisation brings not only their skills but also insight of their local market.

Despite the above points, thanks to which it might feel like Work-from-Home is a cakewalk, there are some negative impacts onindividuals and organisations whoare practicing remote working:

  • Isolation: Humans are social beings; engagement and communication with each other is an integral part of our lives. But now that social distancing and Work-from-Home have pushed us back, loneliness has arisen as a big problem for individuals that may lead to anxiety, stress and other health risks.
  • Loss of Focus: Homes are where we are comfortable, but they present their own challenges. Even with a strict schedule, it can prove difficult to not get involved with family or responsibilities. With WFH practitioners who have children or pets within their households, juggling work and companionship can become a strenuous task.
  • Communication and Enthusiasm Fallout: Humans rely on facial expressions and body language to understand each other; texts, emails and instant messages don’t make up for that. Passing out information, explaining or follow ups on everyone through phone calls or messages can prove to be exhausting.
  • Fall in Productivity: As per various surveys, the biggest concern for organisations is fall in productivity. It becomes difficult for an organisation to chart strengths and weaknesses of every individual while working remotely. A recent survey showed that 99.8% of employees within the IT sector are unequipped for remote working without clear motivation and instruction, with only 0.2% showing high productivity.

Barring all the infrastructural and internet-related hurdles that companies and Individuals face, working-from-Home presents a completely different front of engagement as opposed to the usual office structure.

Countermeasures for a New Culture

Even with its pros and cons, Work-from-Home will stay as a new cultural trend for a long time, mostly in part due to the pandemic. This new phenomenon has ways that can help an organisation and an employee open new doors towards working. The following are a few tips to consider in order to get the most out of it:

  • Build the right environment for your work-from-home hours, preferably with a desk and in a separate room that you can shut yourself in for privacy
  • Create a tight schedule with less flexibility to allow yourself to stay on your target
  • Maintain consistent working hours so as not to burn yourself out
  • Set your goals and work towards them; team leads and managers can help employees in recognising their achievements to help them feel a part of the whole
  • Interact through your team as often as possible through phone calls or video conferencing; it will help reduce loneliness
  • Human Resource teams can create activities to keep everyone entertained, thereby dispelling anxiety, uplifting the mood and increasing productivity

Of course, there is no one-way to take care of all the problems that people will face during remote working. For most of us, this is a relatively new field, and adopting its nature can take some time. Nonetheless, the struggle is real, but it is also an opportunity of everyone to prepare themselves for a new era of working without sitting in a concrete environment.

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