Successfully working from home is a skill, and very few attain it. You are probably not one of them
Is it a good idea to work from office or continue working from home? This is one of the important questions being asked most times specially when the world has learnt to work from home with pandemic mandate and a good percentage is still willing to working from home in near future but there are side effects which cannot be ignored since the impact may not be now but in long run it does harm to organizations as much as individuals. Here are some of the side effects which I think are very relevant in current context
1. Do you want to consider job as a means for paycheck? .. Just a paycheck
To me the answer is absolutely NO. We want job to bring in fun, collaboration, learning and passion. There is nothing wrong about thinking paycheck while keeping it a priority is detrimental to an individual and to the company. The journey needs to be interesting not just the destination. The employee needs to find their purpose and its difficult though not impossible when working from home
2. Growth will be a challenge
“What is visible, sells”. This seems funny but the hard reality is that the promotions do not happen only by work. One of the study says that people those who come to video during online meeting would have much higher chances to grow than the ones which are off video for similar kind of talent. It would add more value when you are showing up at work. There is nothing wrong about showcasing what you have done. I am not saying ‘fake it’ but it is important to showcase what you have done and make yourself visible
3. Health issues
The data suggests, there are significant number of issues related to obesity, fatigue, back pain etc. are increasing multifold with the working from home for long term. The work at home never ends, we tend to start the moment we get up and this keeps going. The expectations have changed significantly which is not a good thing. The WBL has become even more challenging. People those who are critical working more and those who avoid, doing less. Both are bad, the good employees will leave while the others may see significant issue with their career. The majority of people don’t have exercise regime and this result in poor health specially when you are sitting on the chair and eating all times. Another study says that the chair kills more people than anything else in the world.
4. Low motivation leads to being reactive
When the COVID started everyone thought we can do much better while working from home, the energy was 2X but at some point the motivation and morale significantly has gone down. If you ask me today, a majority of percentage is working on reactive mode. What you get is what you do, but that’s not sustainable for you or a company.. The company doesn’t need robots instead motivated employees with great culture. If you think that we can achieve the same while working from home then do remember that this can happen only with rarest of exception and you are not among one of them.
5. Innovation is becoming a word to be used in appraisal
This is something every employee should ask themselves. The great ideas will come when you connect, talk and meet people. The people are innovative and the real innovation should come from people on the ground. When it comes from top, it may be effective but not as good as when everyone contributes. Whether you want to become a leader and make a difference or just a follower. The sense of accomplishment comes when employee feels they are contributing to success of the company. I would stress here on #4 which is ‘being reactive’, and you cant expect to have innovation from reactive employees.
6. The human needs are challenged
The study says that there are three things you should care most to have happy and long lasting life A. Health, B. Social Connect C. Learning. I think we married to chair and laptop over fulfilling above needs. I would recommend you to write down on paper in terms of how these factors were there before and after (Working from office and home respectively). You will have an answer by yourself
7. We need meeting for everything
The moment I started working from home, I see that the number of meetings have increased in leaps and bounds. The meetings are toxic if they are back to back instead of doing any meaningful work. Being in leadership space, for anything and everything which can be done in less than 5 minutes need a meeting. I see people are sitting in end less meetings. At the end of day, the meeting alone cannot be the only thing you should be doing. If you think you can attend endless meetings and that would help you to grow, then I would say sort your myth and come to a reality.
8. Infrastructure Challenges
Do we have enough infrastructure to support the work from home is another challenge? The power outage, internet provider challenges, speed and many other factors significantly affect the productivity. A many of employees do not even have dedicated room where they can work silently.
The office is intervening in the privacy of individuals too. We made home a work place, where we expect to multitask.
9. Moonlighting, & Fake interviews
There are people doing multiple jobs sitting at home. They are not very effective for a company they committed for. Moreover its against code of conduct (Depends on country) for majority of countries. The proxy interview is becoming a common challenge which is a big integrity issue. How hurtful it is to get fired on the ground of integrity and compromising career for rest of the life.
In addition to above, if you look at market, everyone is constantly look out for a job. The attrition rate has risen to 3x…4x, and it is not just because of the market but a big contributing factor is working from home. People who are jumping for money, may not have job once the market settles.
I am not trying to say that working from office is the best thing, but in majority of cases, it is a far better choice than opting work from home. There are exceptions like people those who want to stay far off from city, there are more imp priorities, need to support someone etc. where it cannot be ruled out.
The work from home also boost economy for small places, reduce traffic, give an opportunity for people to do imp things and more. But overall if we weigh both the options, I am sure we will find that the working from office is far better choice to opt for.