Blessing or A Curse
Working from home
Can’t believe this is becoming a thing.
Cloffice! Where you turn your walk-in-closets into an office.
People have been very creative since the lockdown and this is just another example.
Humans no doubt are very adaptive by nature and improvise if and when needed.
During the lockdown, I tried working on my dining table, on my sofa and coffee table, on my bed… Eventually, I gave in … and turned my second bedroom into an office.
A two-bedroom house is what I call my home but do not own a walk-in closet to double as an office. What I have in the name of closets are tiny wardrobes that hardly hold any of our clothes. Looking at such photos I feel like I want one even more.
Is it here to stay?
According to a survey by the U.S.- based Enterprise Technology Research (ETR), workers around the world working from home will double in 2021 as there has been a profound increase in productivity.
Gartner CFO Survey conducted last year showed that 74% of the companies were showing interests in arranging for some of their employees to work remotely on a permanent basis.
Yet there are some big companies around the world that have told their employees that they could work from home indefinitely.
With COVID 19 hitting most businesses and their costs becoming a major issue, real estate expense reduction seems to be the solution. Rent, power, insurances etc are only some of the costs that companies could cut back on.
That means bad news for the people in the real estate business. This might not be a win-win situation for everyone. Some will have to compromise some of their profits.
We can also take the environmental factor under consideration here. If half of the population is given the option to work from home would mean fewer people travelling and fewer cars on the road resulting in reduced air population. Also, this has meant that employees are saving time by not travelling.
Not so easy
Where it has been easier for some people to just clear out a section of their walk-in-closets to put in place a make-shift office due to working from home adjustments, there has been a rising issue for many to cope.
I was fortunate to have a spare study desk sitting in our second bedroom that I started using. Many of my colleagues were not so fortunate and they had to use ironing boards to adjust their laptops to attend meetings, or coffee tables with stacked up books to look presentable. Many had to convert their dining tables to office desks.
I still remember the issues that I had to face and the constant struggle to make it work.
The window in my second bedroom is in front of the desk and not behind it. Which meant that whenever I sat at the desk the light always shown behind me and not my face. So, my colleagues would only see a ghost with my name sitting for meetings. It became a joke among my colleagues. Anyways, it was relatively easy for me to change my setting. Every time I had to be in a zoom meeting, I would move to the living room which had better lighting.
The Institute of Transport and Logistics Studies (ITLS) and the University of Sydney, Australia recently did a study that found that an individual could save on average 90 hours each year if work from home continues at the same rate it is now.
Another study (O’Keefe et al. 2016), sadly shows that majority of the respondents used the time save commuting to work more. As a result, burning out.
Having the flexibility to work from either, would be an excellent arrangement. I do believe I am not the only one with this wish on my list. However, I would like to have this freedom without the fear of judgement, which seems to be a difficult wish to be granted.
Employees who are physically present in the office can easily be taken as more efficient compared to their peers working from home. Even if the working-from-home employees be churning in more work and getting things done, might get unnoticed and overlooked due to their physical absence from the office.
I am not saying that this will be the case all the time, what I am saying is that there are more chances of this happening.
It is a mixed feeling.
Even though I feel I have been more productive since working from home, I do wish I were in the office to get some things done.
However, when I want to be at home all by myself, I feel less distracted to get things going.
But at other times I prefer being physically present in the office to have that face-to-face conversation with a colleague or boss.
I guess what I want is the freedom to work from anywhere but not to be judged for it. I want to keep working from home but also to work from the office when I can.
P.S. Let me know if this article resonates with you.