Many organisations as well as employees, in the past few days have had the flavour of WFH. The reactions have been mixed. While few find it a blessing, there are folks who find it challenging!
With businesses in the process of opening up, organisations are evaluating the options of “Work from Home” (WFH), “Work from Office” (WFO) or even evaluating a combination of the two, for the long term. The option of WFH is mainly applicable for the service sector.
So, what is the best option, going forward? What is your preference as an individual? What is best for your organisation? What are the related financial implications for a business?
Like everything in life, all options have their pros and cons.
Sharing some thoughts on these options. This may vary based on individual preferences.
Pros of WFH & cons of WFO:
- Saving on travel cost
- Goodbye to traffic jams
- No more hassle of travel and time saved
- Family time
- Developing hobbies and other interests
- A huge blessing for new mothers
- Significant reduction in infrastructure costs and fixed overheads, translating to higher profits
- Savings in other employee related costs
- Minimal conflicts between teams / people
- Reduced chances of other employees becoming COVID positive / restricting the spread
- Lesser levels of pollution
- Lesser people in the major cities and growth in tier-2 and tier-3 cities
- Real estate prices could get more realistic
- Potential of tapping into the available women workforce
Cons of WFH & Pros of WFO:
- Striking right balance between office work and home chores
- Over worked and stressed as there is no boundary in timings
- Expectation of employee availability round the clock for work requirements could be high
- Mental stress levels for employees can be high
- Missing the face to face interactions
- Being a Couch potato / glued to the computer with no periodic breaks
- Lack of human interaction
- Emotional stress on being confined to home
- Possibility of family abuse
- Prey to distractions like Television, serials, movies etc.
- Winning the trust of the boss on effectiveness of WFH
- Missing employee perks like plush office to snacks to other office facilities
- Employee related performance issues including meeting targets, delivering on time, quality etc.
- Possible impact on productivity, which could result in lower revenue
- Communication gaps between teams
- Lack of team spirit
- Lack of bonding between teams / colleagues
- Challenge for the manager to handle the teams remotely
- Getting things done remotely
- Internet connectivity of employees could impact productivity
- Engaging employees in a meaningful manner
- Accountability by the employee on the work allocated
- Misuse of the flexibility options by the employee
- Managing employee availability during working hours
- Impact on the real estate industry
- Virtual connections may not be the same as connecting in person
- Building of human long term relationships could be impacted
- Smaller businesses (like caters, coffee vendors, stationary suppliers etc.) could be forced to shut shop.
Apart from the above, there may be instances which are exclusive for each person / organisation.
There is also the option of taking the middle path – which could be a mix of both these options - like 2-3 days of WFH or certain teams operate from home while minimal teams operate from office etc.
While computing the financial impact for the business, remember to check on:
- The lock in period (if any) of the current premises
- The realisable value of the current office setup
- Cost of setting up a smaller office premise
- Possible loss of revenue from lower productivity from WFH
- Impact from the drop in the performance of the employees on the top line and bottom line.
- Work by unhappy employees may affect the quality of the work and increase re-work costs
- Compute the overall cost benefit analysis to know your financial implications.
Importantly, look beyond the financial impact, as there are other humane aspects like mental & emotional stress of employees that need to be addressed. Display empathy.
You are the best judge to know what works well for you and your business. Whichever option you choose, remember to address the cons so as to bring out the best in each employee and create a win-win for both.