Work from home sounds like a dream to all the job holders out there. What is better than rolling out of bed just five minutes before the office time and arriving at the meeting just in time within the comfort of one's bed? Adding the fact that no one is going to judge the employee for not dressing up or eating while working is like a cherry on top. But how far can the benefits stretch till the fine line between a professional workplace and home gets blurry?
As much as work from home sounds highly motivating, nothing can be made effective without proper planning and execution. So, let us dive into the pros and cons of what it looks like to embrace work from home.
Pro 1: Flexibility to juggle other life activities and projects
One of the drawbacks of working at a 9-5 office is that one has to keep committed to one's desk and schedule other activities, like picking up their children or taking a doctor's appointment, after work hours. Sumaiya Rahman, a business development officer at a start-up tech company in New York, has stated, "I can easily allocate time to my children's homework and morning exercises since I have the privilege to complete my assignments or projects later. This makes it easier for me to deal with both sides of life."
Con 1: No apparent distinction between work and leisure time
Many who do remote work have expressed woes of how there is no fixed start or end time to the job, meaning they are literally always doing work. This eliminates the subconscious thought of indulging in post-work relaxation, increasing anxiety and diminishing work-life balance. A lot of health problems also arise, such as depression, fatigue and headaches from dehydration, lowering job participation and organisational development.
Pro 2: Less time lost from small talk
Working from home makes it a lot convenient to engage in a deep one-way focused work without colleagues dropping by to talk about where they went during the weekends. There is less disruption and commotion, facilitating the entire job process to be smoother. This is the reason why many remote workers or freelance job holders claim working from home increases efficiency and productivity as nothing can take your mind off track.
Con 2: Difficulty in keeping employees engaged
As a manager having to manage a large number of people, it often becomes painful to ensure everyone is on the right track and delivering their utmost performance. A lot of people even have logistical problems, leading to sometimes work not being submitted on time. Furthermore, due to not having physical interaction, managers are unable to properly pinpoint the flaws of employees. As it can be observed, work from home definitely takes a heavy toll on mental health, oftentimes creating a dent on work ethics.
Pro 3: Zero exhaustion from traffic jam and zero expense from commute
Considering the situation of traffic jam in Dhaka, going to the office from home definitely seems like the ultimate treat. Traffic jams lead to exhaustion, hindering work efficiency in the process. This eventually translates into lower work productivity. Bill McCue, founder and president of his own firm, McCuenications PR, explained, "Not having to deal with commuting was a huge plus and saved me a minimum of an hour a day that I could put to better and more satisfying use." Not requiring to travel also means a lot of the then necessary expenses can now be saved which can be used to fulfil other needs.
Con 3: Effort to make time for indulging in leisure activities
Since the workplace is the home and vice versa, the idea of resting in the same place after work sounds fairly disturbing. So, employees have to distribute time to the job and leisure activities accordingly. It is absolutely alright to take a twenty to thirty-minute break to take a walk and enjoy a breath of fresh air outside or to watch the series that was always on the top spot of the wish list. But practically thinking, that is not always possible as a lot of times, there are too many tasks to complete that taking time out feels like a burden.
So definitely work from home can both be a dream and trauma unless a fine line is drawn between the expectation and reality from an individual. It is imperative to ensure such a step taken keeps the employees' motivation intact to prevent scratches on productivity and efficiency.
The writer is a third-year student of BBA programme at the Institute of Business Administration (IBA), University of Dhaka. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org