I never thought I would write about my experience of working from home but since it has been too long and I don’t see it ending anytime soon, I think it is still a topic that we can explore.
Employees are finding work from home as a new lease of life or freedom that they had never imagined would come onto them. This is particularly true for organizations that did not have work from home environment. This group of people is doing everything in their power to extend work from home. This might mean talking melodramatically in team meetings about the pandemic, talking about how productivity has risen sharply or how the home environment is helping them work and invest more in themselves. Though all of this might be true in some cases, but we should look deeper to understand how work from home is impacting us.
Employees are enjoying working from home as this gives them full autonomy to be themselves. It is kind of making work a very informal affair from the comfort of your home. We have always looked up at work as a very formal endeavor that needs to be taken up seriously. Work is still not something that can be done enjoying. Although organizations take a lot of effort to make modern workplaces a fun place, it is still work.
My sense is people would enjoy working from home for some time (probably a few years) and then they will start yearning for the workplace. I am saying this for the following reasons:
- Office is not only a place where we work. We spend a majority of our lives there. We interact with people there and for many of us those are the only people that we ever interact with (considering how lonely we all are). I think people would soon realize how smaller their social circle is becoming because the only factor that made them socialize and get out there no longer exists.
- I guess people would soon understand how fragile their relationships are when they have to spend much more time together. I think when we increase the time we spend with an individual substantially, the relationship enters into a new paradigm. There is a likelihood of conflicts increasing. Since time immemorial the concept of a relationship is built on the fact that either of the partner works and that the workplace is different from home.
- We would lose out on making meaningful relationships with people at work that can significantly improve our career and life in general. We anyways have everything virtual. Virtual friends, virtual relations, etc. The last thing we need is virtual work.
- We might have instances of employee burnouts. Though it is claimed that WFH has increased productivity. But that is not true. Increased productivity implies an increase in the ability to get work done. A switch in environment does not fundamentally change how talented an individual is. What it does is change other factors like how much time he can spend working. And with work from home, you have more time to spend. Hence the productivity increase is an effect of spending more time working.
- Work from home might sprung up employee tracking tools. This essentially means that your activity will be tracked. So, if you are thinking you can luxuriate at home and still be paid, then that is not going to happen. You will be asked to have work ethics even at home.
Benefits of working from home
Though I fundamentally believe in the concept of office (a flexible one though), I believe we can leverage the current time as following:
- While it is true that spending too much time together can wreak havoc in a relationship, spending too little time is also a major problem. We hardly get to spend quality time with our loved ones, and this can be a perfect opportunity to fill this void.
- This pandemic has been unprecedented, and we do not know how to process it. This might be a reason of increased attrition in companies. Sometimes people change jobs because they lose the connect with their current jobs. And if there is anything even barely enticing, they latch on to it as there is nothing that could hold them back. The switch is more for psychological than financial reasons. With working from home, such thought patterns have increased causing psychological unrest. We must channelize these thoughts and try to grow in our current jobs instead of hopping. This can be a good time to grow in your current company.