Every office goer at some point in time complained about the monotony of office life & the ordeal of commuting from home to office & vice versa. The never-ending meetings somehow sucked the energy & motivation out of them. They often wished to snooze the alarm and just sleep in the entire day & wished if they could just work from home. Ironically, this came true when the lockdown was imposed as the deadly pandemic hit the world and everything came to a standstill. Given the mandate of social distancing to curb the spread of the virus, working from home(WFH) seemed like the most rational option for organisations. However, with the advancement of communication technology in recent years and the internet boom, WFH soon became the new trend. Many sectors had to opt for it which previously had never even thought of its possibility.
However, now after almost over a year of working from home, the scenario is a little different. After months of lockdown and being glued to their homes, many employees are experiencing fatigue. The WFH novelty has started to wear off. Every coin has two sides. Similarly, WFH also has its cons along with its benefits. Though many people can work successfully from home, there are a number of reasons why it can never replace a traditional office.
- “Too flexible” work schedule
The flexibility of remote work can sometimes be as overwhelming as it can be liberating. Workers might find it challenging to divide their time adequately between work life & personal life while working from home because there is no hard and fast time schedule. Whereas, the office provides it in physical form. Therefore, with the absence of a rigid routine and the start-time being flexible, employees might end up spending even more time in front of their screens. There is a defined routine and structure while working in an office which is why people who struggle to divide their time while working remotely may find it easier to manage time when working in an office.
- Absence of the right work environment
The situation and environment at every individual’s home is different. Since most remote workers do not have an ideal set-up at home for work and are not able to create one easily, bad postures and elongated work hours is frustrating many in their effort to remain productive. With the lack of ergonomic options, many workers have to choose dining tables, couches, study tables or beds as workspaces. Homely distractions like household chores & the absence of a proper work environment have increased the strain on employees because our homes aren’t really designed to function as workspaces. Moreover, the need for a strong internet connection & the constant use of electricity & electronic equipments only add to the costs.
- Social Solitude or the lack of interaction
With the power vested in our hands by modern technology, we can be social even as we sit in our homes alone. But communicating remotely can cause underlying stress. Messages can often be misinterpreted & though video conferencing allows workers to interact more naturally, it can never replace the physical presence of an individual. The office is a place where workers can discuss and create freely without relying on internet-connected devices. In fact, the 2020 State of Business Communication Report shows that face-to-face communication is still the most preferred method of communication among employees.
Now that sectors have started to reopen, employers are considering a hybrid model of working which provides the benefits of both remote working and the office environment. Such a flexible work model has proved to boost productivity. In a survey conducted by Zenefits, 47% of the employees strongly agreed that flexible work arrangements allows them to be more productive and 31% somewhat agreed. Consistent research also shows that workers working from home usually log longer hours than their office-bound counterparts. A great boon of office life is the constant support and encouragement from colleagues. The same goes when you’re working in a coworking space. The presence of other coworkers surely boosts productivity to great extent. Moreover, it’s harder to procrastinate in the office than at home because everyone around you is just so active.
- Work-life balance
Employees around the world are realising that their average workday has increased since the onset of remote work. The line separating work and home has started to blur owing to the prolonged working hours. Because of the monotonous daily routine people are struggling to distinguish between weekdays and weekends.
WFH is a different approach to work than the traditional model & like every other thing it too has its pros and cons. The benefits of WFH may appeal to many, but it is not a sustainable long-term solution. Organizations now must ensure the safety and well-being of their employees without compromising productivity.