Work from home or working remotely has been the talk world wide. Every company, every business globally is struggling with this aspect to ensure they remain afloat. Till covid19 certain businesses or set of people were already implementing the same but it was called flexibility. Most of the information technology companies had implemented flexibility since their business allowed them to operate in that manner. But for rest of the businesses work from home is very new and fearful concept. Work from home has become a new normal for businesses since covid19 because that is the only way to maintain continuity. The question is will it remain perpetual or businesses will shift back to old style of working.
Working remotely or working from home has been thrust upon the world way too fast and leadership is grappling to find the answers. How do you make marketing, sales, finance, accounts, HR work from home and still maintain the harmony and get the desired results. There are multiple dimensions to this issue and each of them needs deliberation,
- Employees point of view
- Barriers to implementation
- Controlling Manager perspective
- Financial or cost implications
Issues under each of the dimension mentioned above..
Employees point of view
Employees love the idea of working from home or remotely and there are various reasons for it.
- They get the flexibility to work from any location.
- They can enjoy flexible schedule.
- They can even work from home
- They do not have to commute to their workplace
- They can spend more time with their family.
All the above is great but there is also a flip side to work from home culture. Every employee is not mentally adaptable for remote working culture and it certainly effects the productivity. Typical issues they face are
- There are distractions at home
- They loose the connection with their colleague
- They are less motivated and they miss the physical presence of the office.
- They find it difficult to draw a line between office time and family time
The biggest challenge for management is to motivate, and ensure the productivity is not dropped.
Barriers to implementation of work from home policy.
- Changing companies non flexible culture will be very difficult and slow.
- The management may not immediately understand the benefits of work from home policy.
- The employees may not be geared up with necessary technology and required internet bandwidth.
- There will be fear of data security and productivity impact.
In some of the countries the remote working culture may not be prevalent and also the necessary internet penetration may not be there. A lot also depends on the education levels of the employees and every one may not be equipped to handle this change.
Controlling manager’s perspective on such flexible policy
Such remote working policy may be appreciated and liked by employees but controlling managers will always be apprehensive about this style of working. There will always be issues with controlling aspect. The middle management is responsible for getting the work done and they are used to certain style of working which is more non remote. They are also adoptable to physical presence and doing a direct controlling. They have to bring about a great change in their management style. They would be more concerned about following issues
- Reduced employee focus.
- Reduced employee productivity.
- Reduced team cohesiveness.
- Difficulty in maintaining inter departmental co ordination.
A sudden change of work culture and remoteness also create problems with regard to co ordination and specially conducting large and long meetings. The infrastructure at each persons place should be near perfect else there would substantial interruptions in conducting business.
Financial or cost implications
For small and medium size companies it is very difficult to provide for the infrastructure for each and every employee and also the interface and communication tools. In many companies such high end infrastructure is given only to select employees. On the other side having people working from home will certainly save lot of cost and which can not be overlooked.
Having said this a lot will depend on the top management and their mind set on whether to continue with this culture or go back to old style of working. There can also be a approach that keep the infrastructure ready and systems implemented for such a eventuality in future but currently go back to old style of working.
Only time will tell us what happens next.