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Work from Home vs. Work from Office, which stands ahead in the new normal?

Every office person, at some point in time, has complained about the extra burden of commuting to and from the office or the monotony of office cubicles, and the many inappropriate round-table meetings. These factors at times also result in lower employee productivity and a lack of motivation.

For employers, keeping their employees productive and motivated is paramount.

With the rapid enhancement of communication technology and the Internet usage upliftment, we have seen a rise in the work-from-home sector. This was a boon for many employees for whom traveling 5-6 days a week was a definite ordeal. For employers, it also meant lower overheads and allowed them to cut unnecessary costs.

A popular survey has found that nearly 65% of employees are more productive in their home office than in a traditional workplace. So, let’s start by analyzing the arguments for and against this emerging belief -:

  1. Commuting

An average white-collar worker spends at least 27 minutes on their daily commute to work, and it is getting worse. More than 14 million people spend an hour or more traveling to work.

That’s a lot of time you can save by becoming a telecommuter! Telecommuting is another way to say working remotely or from home by making full use of the internet, email, and phone.

The bottom line is people hate commuting. Work-life balance continues to surge on the importance meter for modern-day employees. Companies that don’t recognize this are missing a huge opportunity to adopt work from home strategies that benefit their workforce.

  1. Communication

According to renowned research, face-to-face communication is the most preferred communication method by employees.

Not including video conferencing, face-to-face communication is something you will only get in an office space. It’s not only advantageous when planning for business, but it strengthens relationships and morale with other employees. There’s something about relationship-building that happens when you sit next to someone or bump into each other at the printer desk.

Communication still happens when you’re working remotely — it’s just different. Face-to-face communication turns into video calls. Short conversations turn into Slack messages. Emails are probably the only ones that will be universal in the future irrespective of the location of the workforce.

  1. Work Environment

The accurate work atmosphere increases productivity while the opposite one can be harshly detrimental to it. When working at the office, employees rarely have a choice in their work environment or equipment setting. If they have a noisy coworker, they just have to bear with it. Or if the air conditioner is bothering someone, they can’t just get up and turn it off.

At home, one has the option to balance their workspace as per their needs and preferences. But living with a large family, especially with kids, can be equally unproductive. If the neighbor is fond of blaring loudspeakers, one can hardly do anything about it. These only affect the focus, but can also cause unwanted nuisance during important phone calls or video conferences.

  1. Management

Many companies have had to switch to remote work for the very first time. Managers, there are most likely to be concerned because they’ve never had the opportunity to manage a remote workforce.

When working from an office, managers have a white view of what team members are working on. They can go up and ask questions, have daily check-ins, and have whiteboard meetings to make ensure work progress.

That’s definitely not the case when it comes to working remotely. This is why having the right tools is critical to the success of remote working. 

As a manager, one might have the desire to micromanage employees as they go remote. Instead, we suggest trusting people to perform until they prove otherwise. Every employee wants to do well it’s a senior’s job to help them get there.

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What does the Future Look Like?

Working from home is still a relatively new trend for many but a very promising one.

One study by Upwork estimates that by the beginning of 2028, 73% of all departments will have remote workers.

But can this new trend overwrite the good, old office spaces and round-table conferences? Well, that needs to be seen.

The global pandemic will definitely have its implications. In a post-COVID world, the dynamics of office culture have changed. 

However, in India, telecommunication and accessibility to the internet are booming. This has contributed to the growth and spread of the work-from-home culture.

Statistics show that 69% of millennials would give up other work benefits for a more flexible working space. 

So, even as the lockdowns ease and offices open their gates once again, the rules of social distancing are likely to stay for quite long in order to prevent any further outbreak. The employers have to now decide on how to best accommodate their employees, while also keeping the interests of the organisation in mind. A mix of work-from-home and work-from-office is something we expect to see become a new norm in the ‘new normal’ world.

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