In just a span of a few days to weeks, most office dwellers moved out of their cubicles and into their home offices. Exchanging the office pantry to their personal kitchens, replacing the water cooler talk with quick messages and emojis.
Some people already got their groove working remotely, but some struggle with balancing personal errands and office responsibilities. And that’s okay. It’s a normal occurrence that people are still halved about working from home. Others are just more productive in a professional environment.
Is ‘work from home’ a sustainable arrangement?
Before the pandemic, there were already companies from different sectors that pioneered remote working. From software development to customer service, it seems like the opportunities for working at home are endless.
On the other hand, is it really a sustainable working model? With everyone spending their time curating home offices and remote workspaces, is there another agenda beyond working from home?
According to numerous studies, working from home has allowed the majority of the workforce to be flexible, creative, and resourceful. And yet, some sources said that working remotely isn’t the most sustainable way to work.
Long term impact of remote working on traditional businesses
The COVID-19 pandemic caused a sudden change in traditional businesses—the ones who rely on face-to-face operations and working in the office. Due to government-mandated regulations about social distancing and retaining the skeletal workforce, most of them were forced to send their non-essential workers to work at home.
What does this mean?
It means that both the employers and employees were in for a very abrupt change. Most of which involves learning how to make remote working efficient and productive, just like when everything was normal.
The pros and cons of working from home
Pro #1: Flexible hours
Some companies and employers gave their employees the privilege of working the whole eight hours at a semi-flexible rate. They could start working within a predetermined window of hours, given that they will render their whole day.
Flexible hours can also mean that there’s no limit on how many breaks they can take, as long as they’re meeting the deadlines.
Pro #2: Lower carbon footprint
No more printing papers, no more commuting, no more paper cups, and take-outs. There have been significantly fewer people and cars going in and out of highways – since the local government had implemented the mandatory work from home memorandum.
Pro #3: Fewer commuting expenses
As mentioned above, working from home means that employees no longer have to commute to and from the office. They don’t have to pay for public transportation anymore, or spend a chunk of their paycheck for gas, and so on.
Pro #4: Minimal stress
One’s home is arguably the most comfortable place to work in. If their responsibilities and tasks aren’t that heavy, they could work from the couch, on the kitchen table, or someplace else in their home.
Remote employees can control the environment they’re working in.
Pro #5: Improved connectivity with the teammates
The ability to reach out to a deskmate became a thing of the past. With an abundance of connectivity apps and collaboration tools, staying connected (virtually) is just as important as face-to-face communicating with teammates.
Con #1: The temptation to under or overwork
Netflix, YouTube, video games, and the bed. They’re all but virtual employee’s friends when it comes to working at home. Slow days are inevitable but that doesn’t mean that they should fire up the fifth season of their favorite TV show and lounge while on company time.
On the other end of the scale, some people tend to overwork themselves way past their 8 hours. Trying to get ahead of their deadlines and deliverables on the off-hours.
Con #2: Overdependence on technology
Of course, working at home will make them dependent on their laptop, tablet, phone, or whatever device they work with.
If there’s an issue with the internet connection, they’d have to call it out for the day or have to look for a reliable alternative. Power outages and interruptions are not a good sign either.
Con #3: Isolation
Humans are social animals. We need social interactions to function well in an interconnected society.
Going on days and weeks without proper communication and social interaction can weaken one’s mental health and social decorum.
Con #4: Self-restraint, or the lack thereof
Without the team and coworkers around them, virtual workers may be tempted to use their billed hours to do personal errands, tasks, and other things that have nothing to do with their workday.
Con #5: Lack of proper work structure
At the most, remote working environments have different trackers for each project, deliverables, outputs. Never mind the office’s whiteboard full of colorful sticky notes, and calendars with punched in dates.
When working at home, all employees have are their synced calendars and spreadsheets.
A new arrangement: Hybrid working
Experts have come up with a new working arrangement for those companies and businesses who are still on the fence about going fully remote. Alternating workdays in the office and working at home seems to quench their curiosity and still be functional as ever.
Hopefully, hybrid working will be the new thing once everything settles the dust and we can go forth with our daily lives.