By Valance Ling, Russel Yanjurus & Tay Wei Yi (BAC Apprentices)
With the COVID-19 pandemic still prevailing in Malaysia, the norm of working from home (WFH) is still practiced by the majority of us. While this carries few advantages, we should not ignore the drawbacks of this lifestyle.
In this article, we will discuss the advantages of WFH and also the flip side to this new norm.
The Pros of WFH
Working away from the traditional office setting adds value to your life because it saves your money, time and more.
A Happier, Healthier Work Life
Lunch can be expensive especially if you are working in the city or downtown. When you are home, you can save on spending for food, simply by going to the supermarket, buying necessary ingredients and cooking for yourself. It is a much healthier and cheaper option, which can save you financial stress. Not having to commute to work every day also relieves one of unnecessary stress. When you work from home, you save on petrol, car park fees, car maintenance and wear and tear of your car. You also save precious time especially for those working in the city as there is no need to spend time traveling to the workplace, and being stuck in congestion. Thus, it can be said, WFH reduces financial stress, and being able to manage your time according to your own pace, could make your life happier.
Being productive while working from home
The office is excellent for things like collaboration, spontaneous creative interactions, and mentoring. However, WFH usually leads to fewer interruptions, less office politics, quieter working environment, and less (or more efficient) meetings. Home working enables more agility and flexibility in working arrangements. You can adjust your working environment and working schedule as long as the work is completed. WFH allows employees and companies to focus on what really matters—performance. This is a huge benefit of WFH for both employees and employers, with the same goal to achieve.
The Cons of WFH
The pros and cons of WFH are two sides of the same coin. Although the drawbacks differ from one household to another, there are a few universal downsides of remote working. Take a look at what you might not like too much about it:
You need a lot of self-discipline
It is possible that WFH is too comfortable and relaxing. It takes a great lot of self-discipline and determination to get up and focus on work every day while you are working remotely. There are many distractions, and it may be very hard for you to concentrate on work. The fridge is accessible at all times, you can watch the latest episode of your favorite Netflix show anytime, you can choose to dream, or find other opportunities to break away from work. Not forgetting the fact that if your home is made up of many family members, inevitably there will be some disturbances as well. Distractions of any sort contributes to low productivity.
It can be lonely
Although you will have phone conversations and online meetings with your colleagues or clients from time to time, you still are very much working alone from home. There are no quick coffee breaks, no lunch meets, and no sharing weekend plans with your teammates. There is a lack of face-to-face communication and this social isolation can be quite distressing and lonely for some people. Relationships are also harder to establish because it is difficult to develop trust and relationships with teammates and clients when you don’t have regular face-to-face interactions.
It’s harder to shut down and you may be burning out
When work increasingly bleeds over into your personal life, there is a disruption in work-life balance. It will be hard for you to shut down and most probably you will overwork. For example, responding to your boss’ WhatsApp message or an email after clocking out for the day extends an eight-hour day into a ten-hour day (perhaps longer). Working remotely may lead to burnout due to the long hours spent in front of your screen, or handling too many tasks at once, causing you to forget to eat, take a break, take good care of yourself, and enjoy life.
In conclusion, it appears that everyone has to find one’s individual preference, where and how to work. WFH entails all the work demands, as well as conquering one’s own independence and autonomy. The right goal-setting, time-management, and keeping motivated are the keys to your well-being and happiness.