How Work From Home Is Changing Our Lives?
It’s pros, cons and getting the right balance
Work from home is a concept when a person does their office stuff outside their workspace. This may include the person’s home or a co-working space or any other location. This option is worked out sometimes due to the employee’s limitations or sometimes even due to a person’s choice. It is a common practice for companies around the world to offer a work-from-home day or period when the situation calls for it.
The pandemic has taught us a lesson on how badly we need to adapt ourselves to a more sustainable style of living. Working from home was considered a luxury in the past and the Indian scenario, it is mostly considered as a favor. But with the new norm because of COVID-19, many international firms are in the phase of permanently shifting to working from home.
So guys, long gone are the days of commuting and meeting for work. The joy of getting dressed in formals and meeting the colleagues over a cup of coffee does not hold good in today’s time. As good as it sounds, the workforce around the globe is struggling to strike a perfect balance between family time and office commitments. Let us have a close look here from all the different angles.
To keep everyone informed is the rule of the game
In a close-knitted office setup, all the team members have to be informed about everything, from junior to senior to subordinates and even the facility manager of your team. Your (personal) business is absolutely not just your business!
Be ready for repercussions
A person who’s working from home is seen as someone who’s born with a silver spoon. For instance, my friend in Mumbai was given an option to work from home by her company, as they could not set up infrastructure in her city. But her colleagues don’t count her equal. They rather consider her as Miss Advantage Seeker of the team.
Meeting the high standard benchmarks
According to many Human Resource personnel - the concept of working from home and excelling in the workplace are antithetical to each other in their very meaning. They find it difficult to assess the employee’s performance with all this.
Not only this, In most of the Indian firms the top executives believe that productivity would seriously be affected if an employee works from home and they have a fear of this facility being misused. Which on the other hand leads to trust issues.
The Good Part
More family time
While some prefer to work from home out of interest but for many it’s due to some commitments. There could be kids and elderly parents to take care of. Balancing work with fulfilling the responsibilities of your loved ones requires some superhero’s skill set. It’s all about getting your zen.
Saviour from the monstrous traffic
Indian metro cities are not designed as per the walk to work concept, so a lot of individuals’ time is spent in traveling. Many individuals, who use private cars or cabs, save significantly on travel costs. Hence, remote working is a savior to both time and money.
Strict time schedules are followed
As working parents both my husband and I have realized that eventually, we have become more efficient during the defined office hours. We have a set schedule and we have become really cautious about not missing any deadlines in any social and professional discussions.
Breaks between the work are more fun
If you do need to work specific hours, you’re sure to still have some break time – time you can use however you’d like! The breaks that we take now have become more fun. With kids around it’s a real joy to just be around them. Though we have a dedicated staff to look after the child the entire duration, frankly now those lunch hours and tea breaks are more interesting as we get to see our child’s daily activities.
The Right Balance
Set up the equilibrium
First of all, we need a shift in the mindset here. An effort is needed from all three ends, the employee, the employer, and the family. Many companies in the US for example practice work from home Wednesday’s- which actually is a fresh concept that even Indian firms must also try. Maybe just like the mock drills to test the readiness.
Trust building will happen with teamwork
There is no doubt that the office space for many is a place for social interaction. Most of the professionals miss the workplace where the rhythm and pace are different from home. Where people can interact with their colleagues and not just discuss work but share their daily lives. These healthy interactive sessions create trust in individuals. So in today’s time, people who are working from home need to be skillful communicators on what they’re doing. When the entire team is working from home in different locations and time zones, the question of trust-building becomes very important.
Stop stereotyping work from home as a luxury
Remote working does not mean that the individual does not work as much as other colleagues in the team. In fact, most of the time the individual is expected to put in more man-hours and generate more value since he/she is working from the comfort of their home. So it is a myth that telecommuting means relaxing in your pajamas at home. The time has come to break this conventional thinking.
Inform your family about the work schedule
Bringing the right balance between the family and career is tricky for everyone because both are important to us. We should not forget that both demands on our time. So the best thing that could be done is – Don’t spill your work in your family hours and vice versa. Make it a habit of saying ‘NO’ when needed to either of them. Take some external help if you need it. In case it’s difficult – then you and your spouse must do things in alternate. It’ll ease out a lot of stuff. However, work-at-home parents are faced with a different set of challenges when it comes to creating a healthy work-life balance but we need to be proactive and take steps to manage these challenges.
In India, remote working or work from home is an evolving concept. Remote working has been in vogue in the IT industry for many years across the world but to Indian employers, it’s alien stuff. We have been lacking in getting discipline in working out of office space.
Though India has the majority of labor working in the informal sector even the big corporations struggled initially in pandemic days for letting their workforce work remotely. Probably a stereotypical. thinking shift from both the employer and employee needs to be established now.
Staying at home and working has its own pros and cons but to practice, it occasionally is the need of the day. At least it will improve our readiness to deal with the unknown tougher times.