Working from home is the new normal, but should you continue after the pandemic is over?
With the outbreak of Covid-19, many of us have found ourselves in unprecedented situations. One of these strange situations is that we have been ordered by our governments to work from home.
This has created disturbance in the workforce. Those who like this new situation are in their PJ’s all day long while those who miss going to work and seeing their favorite co-worker are seeing this work-from-home situation as a burden.
In this blog, we’ll try to weigh working in-house against working from home and try to put this debate to rest once and for all.
The pros of working in-house
While many of us dread waking up early in the morning to change and go to work, there are a few benefits of working in an office.
While you’re in the office, you can easily turn to your co-workers or boss if you have questions about a particular task. Communicating your issues will be a lot easier since you can simply call them over to your desk and show them what you’re working on. This way, you can mitigate the issue of calling up your boss and trying to explain to them over video chat.
Pushes you for career growth
Some people may complain that the downside of working in-office is that you have to deal with your superiors watching your activities closely. However, you also have a vast pool of knowledge and support you can benefit from which is provided by your boss and colleagues. These are tools that you can use to advance your career.
This point is an extension of the previous point on career growth. You’ll find that you can benefit personally from working in an office environment. Your time will be full of opportunities to get into the boss’ good books and create meaningful interpersonal relations with your colleagues.
Having lunch with your coworkers and going out for a drink after work is a good way to catch up with each other and learn about other areas of the business. These are rewarding activities after a tough day at work. Remember, a happy employee is a productive employee. Forging friendly relations with your coworkers will also make your work more bearable.
The cons of working in-house
While there are a few pros of working in-house, many people find the idea of waking up to go to the same place of work every day extremely monotonous. Those people may present counter-arguments such as:
This is perhaps one of the biggest drawbacks of going into work every single day. Not only do you have to wake up early to shower and get ready for the day, but you also have to embark on the mundane journey to work. If you drive to work every day instead of taking the train, you’ll be racking up quite the fuel expenses.
Traveling by train has its own cons. At rush hour, you’ll probably have to stand for the duration of the journey, sandwiched between strangers. This race against time in a congested space can be an anxiety-inducing situation.
Furthermore, proponents of working from home may argue that the time wasted in traveling to and from your office is the time wasted that could have been spent more productively.
Office work demands alignment. Because you’re working under other people, you are essentially working on their time. You need to fit all your workload between those eight hours of work and sometimes even work overtime if your boss requires you to.
Many people feel that they must deliver their highest level of alertness at all times during work to leave at a reasonable time. This means employees hardly have the freedom to set their work schedules.
While this isn’t a major concern for most people, it can be a hassle to pick out the appropriate attire for the day. Sometimes, you may have decided on an outfit but when you go to get ready, you find that it’s in the hamper. This can be extremely frustrating especially when you’re running late for work.
When you have dependents
If you’re someone who looks after parents, a child or even a pet, being away from home for extended periods can be stressful. There may be times where emergencies occur, and you have to leave work for a couple of hours. This is an additional commute that could be avoided if you work from home.
The pros of working from home
This pandemic is making people realize there are many upsides to working from home. You may even be considering making it a permanent arrangement after the Covid-19 pandemic is over. But before that happens, let’s try to weigh the pros against the cons.
More spare time for yourself
This is one thing that most of us have been experiencing since the order to self-isolate. You suddenly find time to do the things you've been putting off because of work. Firstly, you don't have to spend an hour of commuting from one place to another. You can wake up a little later than you usually would and make yourself a hearty breakfast before getting down to work.
Afterwards, you can simply get up from your work desk and move to another part of your house and recuperate from a long day at work.
You can control your work environment
You can create a comfortable and cozy environment for yourself to work in. Many people develop back problems while spending long hours working on uncomfortable chairs. At home, if you start to feel sore, you can always sink into a sofa with your laptop and work from there instead of sitting up.
Moreover, some people may combat boredom at home because their workspace in the office may seem bland. Working from home gives you the privilege to move from one corner of the house to the other. You can also set up your workstation on a balcony or a terrace if the weather permits it. There’s nothing like working while being able to enjoy some fresh air.
You don’t have to ignore your other responsibilities
Working from home allows you the flexibility to look after your children, aging parents or pets. You can simply spend your work breaks with them or keep checking on them at intervals.
No rent costs to the employers
Having your employees work from home may mean some disruptions in the communication between employer and employee but it allows firms to significantly cut back on the cost of renting office premises.
Renting office space is one of the bigger costs an organization has to incur; however, if all or most of your employees are working from home, the costs drop significantly. Even if you have a few employees working in-house, the office space you’ll need to rent will be significantly smaller thus, saving you a lot of money.
The cons of working from home
Working from home isn't all sunshine and roses, though. It does have its drawbacks.
Under normal circumstances, many people who choose to work from home find that it is a lot like solitary confinement. In the era of social distancing, this is no longer an analogy but more like a reality.
Humans are social beings who need social interactions and sometimes video calls and emails just do not suffice.
Especially after COVID-19 blows over, many people will crave congregating at places of work and interacting with their colleagues.
One main issue with working at home is the downtime that occurs if you experience technical difficulties. If you lose access to the internet or your company’s intranet, then it becomes really difficult to meet your objective for the day. You cannot simply call the IT department in your firm to fix the issue as you would have while working in-house. Especially in countries experiencing lockdowns, your service provider may take a couple of hours before fixing the issue.
Working round the clock
While working from home, you may feel as if your workday never ends. Since you’re spending the entire time in the comfort of your home, you may find yourself working well past the end of your working day. Many remote workers find that their work-life overlaps with their personal life.
Sometimes, your boss may also expect you to work longer hours since you’re working from home anyway. In this way, employers may overburden their workers making it very difficult to find that work-life balance.
These pros and cons of working in-house versus working from home are specific and while one situation might work for someone, it doesn’t mean it’ll work for everyone.