Work from Home: Pros, Cons, and Policies

As the name suggests, doing all the work done from the cubicle/cabin of your office, from the comfort of your home, is called work from home. Before the pandemic hit our lives in 2020, this was a needed 1-day break taken by the employees to cool off the steam of everyday workplace hustle. But today, this has become a mandate for keeping up with the virus and still getting the work done. Working remotely, the necessary evil has its pros and cons, where the world has adapted with changing needs to set and track the goals every day and thus motivate the workforce to deliver with equal zeal from their haven, i.e., their home.

What is work from home?

Work from home or its more popular acronym WFH means working remotely, from your own space, from your HOME. Creating your workstation at your home, with no stress of commuting to work daily, waking up, sitting in the workspace, with no chatty colleagues, working in stay-at-home pajamas are few things that work from home entails. With the coronavirus pandemic still looming at large, WFH is here to stay for the long haul. A stable internet connection and a mobile workstation, and you can work from anywhere in the world!

What are the advantages of working from home?

Building a workspace at home sounds exciting. Some of the advantages include the comfort, own timings, saving money (lots of) and many more! So, looking at these in detail:

  • Safety comes firstWith almost negligible touchpoints, your home is probably the safest place to stay amidst the pandemic, and thus WFH comes as a blessing in disguise!
  • Unleash your creative sideDesigning your workspace is displaying your utmost creativity, all the things required to get the work done effectively, and creating a space where you enjoy the most strikes a perfect balance. A comfortable chair, the correct amount of light, a place with minimum noise are essential factors to keep in mind while designing your workspace.
  • Enhancing productivityResearch suggests that WFH employees have better productivity as they work in their own comfortable space and thus deliver more effectively. Some of the things that might help achieve this are, having defined start and end times for working, proper meals between work, taking some time out to manage the stress, and dressing well for an important meeting!
  • No commuting to and fro workEveryone knows it’s a big YAY! The last thing anyone needs after a tiring day at work is an hour-long traffic jam! Guess what? WFH eliminates commuting to work altogether and thus saving transportation money on the go too!
  • More time for other activitiesWFH saves time. There is no doubt about it! So, this extra time can be utilized for completing that series that is still left, for having a movie night all to yourself, for doing anything that your heart desires!
  • Better work-life balanceSince there are flexible schedules for most of the projects, choosing your start and end of day to deliver outcomes helps in effective management of both work and personal front of your life.
  • Saving moneyThe most significant advantage of WFH undeniably is saving tons of money! Be it fuel cost, transportation cost, cost of ordering food, an updated professional wardrobe, and many more! All of these costs are saved and can be put to better use.
  • A healthier lifestyleWFH promotes a healthy way of being! Staying at home promotes activities like eating at home more, regular exercise, spending more time with our near and dear ones, which also has a positive impact on our mental health, promoting mental and physical fitness.

What are some of the cons of WFH?

WFH is called the necessary evil as it is also susceptible to cons of its own. So, some of the disadvantages of WFH are:

  • Lack of concentration: Not being in the office environment can cause individuals to get distracted frequently and get busy with their work.
  • Scarcity of office equipment: Not everyone might have a wi-fi connection, high-end tech, and laptops to work efficiently from home.
  • Lack of communication, motivation, and teamwork: Working in silos may not be everyone’s cup of tea. Thus lack of communication also brings down the motivation to work.
  • There is no clear distinction between family time and official time: Lack of fixed defined office timings can irritate and interrupt family time.
  • Security issues: Security issues outside the workplace is a severe concern that plagues WFH.

What is a work from home policy?

As WFH is becoming the new normal where the employees and the employers meet each other only on the screen, so being distracted from your goals and under-delivery of work can become a very common problem. So, work from home policies is developed, which clearly explains the expectations that the employer has from the employee, the goals that need to be achieved in a specific time frame, how to behave and deliver in work from home setup, and many more which are included in the policy.

As WFH is pretty new, WFH policies can be tailor-made and customized as and when required. It must also include the company-specific values and must be enforced upon the employees to not take WFH lightly and thus do not slack. WFH serves as the guidelines that help the employees follow a specific code of conduct even remotely.

What are the critical components of a WFH policy?

Some of the essential elements of a WFH policy are:

  • A clear purposeA clear statement stating what is expected from the employees, their goals, time frame, some specific WFH rules, and how they will be implemented must be included.
  • Scope and eligibilitySpecifying which job titles require working remotely, how can they be implemented, when WFH is applicable, WFH job scope, and what cannot be granted WFH access must be specified clearly.
  • Standards regarding availability and attendanceWFH can make people lazy, and thus getting them to do work can be a monumental task. So, clear guidelines on when the employee must be available, the number of days the employees can miss work without getting a pay cut must be specified.
  • Providing tech supportOffice laptops, allowance for a good internet connection, and all the necessary support for WFH must be provided by the office.
  • Dress code: WFH also includes having meetings with clients and other stakeholders, so dressing appropriately when required is a non-negotiable rule.
  • Benefits and compensation detailsChange in any kind of allowances or compensation structure due to WFH must be included in the policy.
  • Security guidelinesCompany data is confidential, and working remotely increases the risk of leaking the data out, whether knowingly or unknowingly. Having proper security guidelines in place, which include using a password-protected network when working remotely, must be mentioned.
  • Measuring productivityOne of the most challenging tasks is regulating the employee’s work and measuring their productivity in a WFH setup. Specific measures that can be used to measure productivity are:

o  Define KPIs for different job roles: Clearly defined performance indicators for other job titles will provide a matrix, which will aid in the productivity measurement of additional employees.

o  Assign tasks to your employees which serve as milestones: Any task with well-defined milestones is easier to track. It also maintains visibility and helps the employees to glance at their progress every day and thus motivates them to perform better.

o  Using a project management tool: A project management tool divides the entire project into small tasks; therefore, it becomes easier to allocate tasks and maintain a checklist of everyone’s progress.

keeping track of average time per person spending on work: Having a record of how much time a person spends on work and correlating it with the number of tasks completed gives an idea about the employee’s productivity.

o  A strict reporting structure: All the employees should be required to submit a report of their entire day’s working to their supervisor to be regulated better, complications can be identified and dealt with earlier.

WFH has always had conflicting viewpoints. There is a set of people who believe that WFH decreases productivity due to lack of supervision. In contrast, the other sect believes that productivity increases due to a better mind frame of the employee. True or not, WFH is here to stay for the long run, so there is no option but to adjust to it as it is what the post-pandemic world looks like.

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