The workplace environment brings forth various elements that cannot necessarily be found at home. The symphony from the keyboard clicks of working employees, the office printer's or coffee machine's sounds, even walking to your favorite colleague's desk, the sense of teamwork, all these little things, make us look forward to coming back to work the following day... But in recent years we have noticed a growing movement from many companies in adopting agile working from which derives the Work From Home (WFH) concept.
Now more than ever WFH is no longer an option for most people, as it has become part of our lives overnight, due to the #COVID-19 pandemic.
The ability to work from home is truly a privilege as certain kinds of jobs are really limited when it comes to remote working. On one hand, we have essential service workers, who need to be in the field to perform their jobs; and on the other hand, we have people with non-essential jobs, whose jobs do not require remote working (i.e. Retail sales assistant, tourist guide, etc...). So those who have jobs that allow them to easily work from home, are definitely among the luckiest. And with this sudden change, corporations have to rely on the trust placed in their employees to actually complete the work as planned and not abuse that trust.
Workplace vs Home environment: the Pros and the Cons
The workplace environment, as mentioned before, has given us a great sense of purpose. It is the space where accomplishments are made, connections are built; where we can be exposed to different technologies, allowing us to be efficient in our work. Speaking of technology, the growth in the industry has had remarkable effects on our economy and our society in general. Technology has made it possible for teams, in different places around the world, to work conjointly on various projects via video conferencing, cloud computing and other available collaborative tools. Our current advancement in technology has helped us manage this pandemic.
What would have happened if the COVID-19 pandemic broke out in the 90s? At that time, technology, as we know it now, was not really developed. Back then, we could only work in the office, there was no video calls, no agile working solutions. The economy would have crashed completely on the first day of the lockdown. In essence, we can acknowledge that technology has played a major role in not only connecting the world but also, in ensuring its continuity.
As drastic circumstances call for drastic measures, here we are, facing the pandemic the best we can, pushing and working from the comfort of our homes to keep the economy moving forward.
The benefits of Working From Home are numerous. For one, we do not have to commute to and from work every day, saving time and reducing our carbon footprint drastically. We also get to spend time with the family and build new memories with our loved ones. For introverts, this is the best situation as they will not have to deal with people... But Work From Home can have some negative aspects to it.
First and foremost, basic ergonomics need to be applied when setting up to work from home, to mitigate risk factors that may lead to musculoskeletal injuries and also allow for performance and productivity. Working on the couch all day may result in those injuries, creating considerable discomfort. Secondly, there is a crucial need for self-management; knowing when to take breaks or stop for the day, is important, as we may get so carried away in the work and end up affecting our health.
Another important aspect to consider is, how safe is our home network? Although most companies have a VPN (Virtual Private Network), on which employees can connect to access company data, the concern remains about the safety of that data, if copied out of the VPN onto our desktops.
Overall, as humans, we always adapt to our circumstances and to different situations. As we hope for the current situation to dissolve, many will be the ones who will embrace WFH as a way of living after the pandemic.