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Work From Home or Work From Office: What do employees prefer?

Work From Home or Work From Office: What do employees prefer?

Monica Sharma | Delhi: Ever since the global pandemic became a part of our lives, another cultural shift was adopted simultaneously and that is the culture of working from home. It has reached a point that if given a choice between work from home (WFH) or working from the office (WFO), a lot of employees seem to be choosing the former. There have been instances reported where companies have also tried offering higher salaries, but for some people opting for work from home, the lifestyle provides a sense of better work-life balance.

Choosing to work from home over working in an office has both benefits and drawbacks that are worth considering. In order to analyse this concept, it’s quite important to reflect on some points such as

  • How happy are you when you WFH vs when you WFO?
  • How much time and money do you spend commuting each day?
  • Where do you think are better networking opportunities? 
  • Do you need to be in an office to collaborate effectively?
  • Where do you feel easily distracted?
  • Where can you maximise productivity?  

Once people are able to answer these questions for themselves or if their company is understanding enough to address these concerns, there will be a scope of mutual understanding between the employer and employees and a better work model. 

Pros & Cons of Working from home (WFH)

Since there is a clear rise in preference amongst people for working from home, let’s look at the pros and cons of working from home. There is no denying that working from home does come with a few advantages. These are in form of: 

Financial savings: Working from home significantly helps in cutting costs when it comes to eating out, spending on commute whether it’s through fuel for your own vehicle or spending on public transport. These costs add up to a respectable amount over a longer period and working remotely helps in refraining from such costs.

Flexibility: There is a certain sense of flexibility that comes through this working style. People can now prioritise their tasks, work more flexibly and eventually manage to make time for other things as & when required. People have said to be having more availability for their family members for various situations. 

Independence: Apart from the fixed schedules/meetings that are at a specific time, people have found a sense of independence in their remaining work hours. Once the work is done or the target is achieved for the day, they have the freedom to wrap up their work whenever required. This enables them to organise their day better. 

Saves Time: One of the biggest factors in the saving of time is the fact of not commuting to work on a daily basis. On average, commuting to work takes an additional hour or two for most people. Also, a lot of people don’t spend a lot of time getting ready for the day as they don’t really have to step out of their house. 

CONS of working from home

Every coin has two sides to it and so does the take on working from home. Let’s look at some of the disadvantages of working from home. 

Overworking: Although work from home culture has given a lot of people a sense of independence and self-organisation, there are people who end up working more than they would at the office, mainly because of no fixed timings. It can be quite difficult to “sign off” when there is no physical difference between your home and your workplace. 

The feeling of being disconnected: When everything shifts from physical interactions to online interactions, having a limited scope of networking or being the only person in a room working all day, a sense of feeling disconnected is bound to prevail and it does not help every employee possible.

Finding a reliable internet connection: This is one of the drawbacks that isn’t considered enough. There is always a significant difference between the internet at an office and the internet at home. Having a high-speed internet connection is of utmost importance and ensuring that your internet service provider is reliable. There are instances where people get stuck due to unreliable internet connections and piling up their workload due to working from home. 

Distractions at home: Since working from home makes your home and your workplace in the same location, it’s not easy for everyone to disconnect completely from one to the other. Being at home might lead to distractions such as choosing to do house chores during work hours, cooking meals for longer, etc. Not everyone finds the concept of having their place of stay and their place of work in the same spot, and not everyone is privileged enough to afford a huge apartment/house to have separate rooms dedicated for each purpose. 

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Pros and Cons of Working in an Office

Working in an office full-time was the usual norm before the world was struck by the global pandemic, and since then so many aspects of a daily lifestyle have never been the same. Since the culture of working from home has come into existence, there have been questions raised against the idea of working every day from an office. For that reason, we have compiled a list of some benefits and challenges of WFO. 

Benefits of WFO: 

Having a proper work culture: Every company has its own culture of work and it plays a major part in the growth of the employees as well as the company itself. Having all the employees under one roof increases the chances of building a strong and positive work environment.

Better time management: There’s a lot of debate around the subject of time management when comparing WFH and WFO. In an office space, there’s always a set time schedule, orderly meetings, and a dedicated space for every individual to work from. This enhances the scope of time management. Also, all of these structured systems will not be easily found when working remotely. 

Distinction between life at home and the office: This is a key point of differentiation as well between WFH and WFO. A lot of people cannot always cope with their home space and workspace being in the same location. Those who have the facilities of creating a specific room/floor in their own house for work purposes can still manage it somehow, but the majority of people don’t have access to that kind of space. Hence, having an office space separate from home gives a clear distinction between the two lifestyles. 

Challenges of WFO: 

Inflexible: Now that most people have experienced the concept of working from home and experienced flexibility in their working style, going back to fixed schedules, work hours, meetings, etc may not be everyone’s preferred style of working. 

Extra hours: Working from the office means putting in the extra time apart from regular working hours, for commuting back and forth. Those who have already felt the difference during the last two years while remote working, are not quite ready to put in these extra hours and would rather spend more time with their family or friends. 

Exposure to health hazards: Although the rapid spreading of the Covid-19 virus has significantly slowed down over the past few months, does not mean that it is completely eliminated. Going to an actual office still means being exposed to the risk of getting sick. 

Where does the future lie?

The WFH vs WFO debate is one of the most discussed topics across the corporate world. From the smallest companies to the corporate giants, all of them are figuring out or implementing newer forms of working. We believe that the future lies somewhere in striking a balance between the two styles of working. A hybrid working model. A lot of big companies such as KPMG, Deloitte, Tata Consultancy Services, and others have already started adopting the hybrid work model wherein the employees have an option of mixing their weekdays with WFH as well as WFO. This model will most likely provide both the employers and the employees to have a desirable work-life balance and an efficient work culture in the future. 

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