How work-from-home culture has revolutionized the traditional 9-5 culture
Disruptors. This word appears to be the theme of the last 5 years, there has been so much change in the methods of working, the nature of jobs has also changed drastically, a decade ago if you were to tell anyone that you earn through means of social media then you would probably be laughed off.
Only positive of the pandemic?
As bad as the last two years have been due to the pandemic, the virus is also a disruptor in its own way, as it has forced us to adapt to alternate modes of going about our day-to-day activities. The most prominent one is the shift from the traditional office work culture to working-from-home.
Initially it did involve some discomfort but as time has passed, people have adapted to this new culture very quickly, majority of them have viewed it as a boon. The time you spend travelling to and from your office, in crowded public transportation, or stuck in slow moving traffic takes a certain toll on you mentally and physically as well. Imagine going through this when you are aware there is a virus that can spread through the air and at times virtually shows no symptoms.
The new way to go:
With work-from-home, there is a sense of ease among employees as you are the most comfortable in your own house. Besides this, you can take a break to relax and spend some time with your family in between the working hours. This has resulted in the improvement of the work-life balance of a lot of people. The biggest beneficiaries of this new culture are women, the modern woman not only excels in the professional atmosphere but also balances her family life as well. Spending more time with their children has become a boon for them, and pregnant women and mothers of newly born children have seen this new development as a godsend as usually, you will need to take a year off to ensure the well-being of the child, working digitally, you are able to make time for the child while ensuring you get some work done as well.
Employees are not the only ones reaping the benefits of the digital work culture, employers are having a field day saving large costs that are involved in running an office. The fact that you do not require an actual workspace has resulted in majority of them downsizing their existing office spaces, some firms have switched to working from home on a permanent basis as well. The real-estate costs incurred in renting or leasing are usually sky-high especially if you are a firm operating on a comparatively larger scale. In addition to that, other costs such as electricity and security along with having to maintain housekeeping staff and furniture for employees also bump your budget up. There are also companies that offer cab services and travel allowances for their employees to commute to and from home. With all these costs significantly reducing, this has resulted in the increase in other benefits or performance-based incentives for employees.
Increased comfort or increased pressure?
Despite its immense benefits, work from home culture does have its fair share of cons as well. Imagine you have a gym at home, yet you still would prefer to exercise in a public gym, just because the environment there is different. Same goes with working from home, a lot of employees witness a drastic reduction in productivity due to working in an environment where you are accustomed to relax and unwind, apart from this, a lot of them were ill-equipped as you need a basic setup to work from anywhere, everyone did have a laptop and a decent internet connection, but you need a workspace, where you can focus, sit down and really get some business done.
Then comes the issue of your family being around you, while it is beneficial as you spend more time with them, if you have toddlers and teenagers, you risk being interrupted by their shenanigans as even they have online classes and are virtually bored for the remainder of the day!
Since you work digitally, there is no in-person connection or contact between employees, which is bad from a team-building perspective. Working at the office, you talk, you joke, there is some chemistry that you build, and this does have an impact on how you work with your team members as well. It has now rather become robotic, in the sense there are team meets scheduled, where you conduct strictly work-related discussions and that is all, everyone goes their own way after.
The one recurring point you would have seen spring up through this article is improvement in work-life balance among employees, but is it really the case? Since in offices, you had strict timings such as 9AM to 5PM there was some sense of ease after work ended. But when you are working at home, you do not realize how time goes, in addition to that you have the pressure of deadlines to meet and in order to achieve them, employees end up working for longer than expected, work has in fact increased for many.
The biggest con however, is the loss of jobs, since you need staff apart from your employees for running an office. Now that there is no office, the manpower requirements have also significantly gone down, the employees at the lower stages of the professional hierarchy have bore majority of the brunt.
Work from culture does have a lot of benefits, however, if it makes sense to completely switch to it or not is subjective, some companies need offices, the nature of the business and the results produced by employees working from home need to be analyzed to determine if the firm will be better of adapting a digital work culture, but it is a welcome move regardless, the best balance appears to be a mix of working from home and in the office when absolutely required.