Working from Home or Working from the Office?

Ever since the 1960’s when the modern-day traditional office space became popular worldwide, service-based companies have made it their tried and true formula to pack their workers into these offices, seat them at their own desks, have some blackboards, whiteboards and separate rooms for board meetings and call it a day. Of course, as technology changed, the papers and pens were replaced by screens and keyboards but the concept and design remained unchanged for 50 years. Recently however, especially with the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic that highlighted the fragility of our current systems of labour and management did we start to take the alternative more seriously, that being, working from home.

Is it better to work from home or in an office?

This age-old question has bothered those who would prefer to not have to dress up, drive through traffic and sit in a poorly-ventilated hall where they have to unpack all the stuff that they had brought from home just to sit down and work at another desk. Obviously, many don’t see the point of going through all of this unnecessary work just to arrive at the same destination, especially for jobs that are mostly digital in nature and thus only require face-to-face communication when it comes to planning or negotiating. All of this which can be done nearly to the same capacity online through video software such as WhatsApp, Zoom, Skype and Facetime.

office spaces are hubs of knowledge transferring, information, and new ideas all within earshot of one another. It’s a sort of innovation hub in which the best and brightest come together every day and manage the problems posed by the ever-changing marketplace. This is also a cause of concern for managers who had previously not had to contend with remote workers on a large scale such as they do now. In office spaces, managers can be at peace knowing that they have a clear view of the whole team and they can ask questions anytime or do a daily check-in. All of those things which become more difficult as a result of remote employment.

What are the pros and cons of working from home?

The pros of working from home are quite obvious for many disgruntled office workers. For one, it’s the joy of waking up an hour later since you don’t have to either use public transit or drive through endless amounts of traffic to work every day. As soon as you wake up, all you need is to dress up, get a cup of that soothing coffee you love and voila, you’re ready. That’s two hours of your day, 5 days a week or 10 hours every week! Another advantage is the flexibility when it comes to work. Do you want to work on the couch, on the table, on your bed? Well, you can now. Throw your feet up, relax! No one’s watching you here.

The other side when it comes to working from home is low reliability, accountability as well as a lack of communication and sense of culture and community. While working from home, if someone isn’t feeling keen to talk to you, all they have to do is not pick up and pretend as if they are unavailable. In an office space, it’s much more difficult to pull off the act. So if you’re co-working on a project with a colleague and they are lagging behind, you can’t confront them directly and they have a choice of whether or not to reply to what you send them. Another benefit of working in an office space is the shared community culture. When you work in close proximity with people, you start to get to know each other better and thus eventually, create social groups and meet future friends. When everything is done through a screen, it makes it more difficult for humans to feel that sort of personal connection than if they were to be face-to-face.

Why is working from home bad for business?

To answer this question, it certainly doesn’t seem this way now. With the COVID-19 pandemic not going anywhere, more and more top tech companies have shifted gears with giants such as Twitter and Facebook are allowing their employees to continue working from home even after the end of the pandemic. This is due to first of all, the majority of workers having a personal preference to work at home as well as the company being able to save millions on leases, mortgages, and utilities expenses. So for now, for companies that are already suited to his type of environment, working from home is what is keeping them alive and for many others, it is a window of opportunity in the midst of the darkness.

Are employees who work from home more productive?

In a study published by the Journal of Economic Behaviour and Organization in 2012 with support from the National Science Foundation, Florida State University as well as others, it was discovered that people perform better in a structured environment such as an office cubicle when performing more repetitive and menial tasks. Examples for this could be accounting, filling out databases or other similar tasks. When a team works from home, the effect increases. 

This is due to first of all, people believing from the start that they are going to be less productive which in turn makes them less productive. It’s also due to the fact that there is always a feeling that you don’t want to have to do more work than your friends when gathered in groups because you don’t want to feel like you’re being taken advantage of and letting other people be freeloaders. So in short, everyone gets less work done.

On the other hand, when it comes to more in depth and creative assignments, participants were found to perform better at home than in the office. The study suggested that structure kills creativity and with the freedom associated with working from home, people were able to come up with far greater plans and ideas than they are able to sitting in a cubicle.

Is working from home better?

In short, working from home is certainly a good option for those that are capable of it. It allows workers to perform better on more intricate and detail-oriented tasks, keeps employee morale high and allows employers to save big times. On the other hand, offices provide a sense of community which allows for better exchange of ideas as well as structure for more basic work which keeps employees from getting distracted. In the end, it’s up to you, home or office? You choose.

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