The age-long debate to let employees work from home, isn’t a debate merely between coming to office or staying back at home or about being productive versus not being productive. Rather, it is about choosing between having a personal connect with one’s colleagues versus connecting with the team virtually, a.k.a – digital connect
Many big companies have often experimented with the “work from home” phenomenon. However, IBM, who had been preaching about the positive effects of working from home for as long as 1983, startled its employees (in March 2017) by announcing that they wanted thousands of their workers spread across 173 countries, to start working from their physical offices.
Work from home, also commonly known as “telecommuting”, has helped many organizations gain a huge monetary benefit – an approximate $44 billion each year. Workers, especially in the western part of the world, in their quest to achieve a healthy “work-life balance” have started embracing and demanding for work from home policy (as per the survey conducted by Flexjobs’ annual survey, the number of people to quit a job due to lack of flexibility has nearly doubled from 17% in 2014 to 32% in 2017).
Several organizations have been inclined towards reversing their work-from-home policy with an intent to strengthen communication and increase collaboration between teams. We’ve often seen article after article preach the concept of telecommuting or simply work from home in order to realise short-terms gains. However, what are we eventually loosing?
- Personal Connect – We often hear that people don’t quit a job, they quit a boss. Creating a personal connect with employees working from their office space has been one of the biggest and oldest challenges for companies and those in the HR department. Try imagining the ramifications when an employee works from home! With little to no time being spent with these remote employees, a sizable disconnect can be evidenced that further creates an issue of trust in the minds of the manager and the employee showcasing a lack of belonging to the organization.
- Digital Telecommunication – Phones, e-mails and video-conferencing are some of the biggest assets when it comes to working from home. Organizations invest in setting up the best infrastructure that supports its requirements and often, the laptop is the only asset that an employee gets to take home to work. Not everyone who works from home invests in the necessary provisions which at times leads to a loss of productivity and a strong disconnect with their workspace.
- The Company Culture – This is seldom spoken about, but the company’s culture takes the maximum hit when it comes to working-from-home. Be it the remote employee who feels restricted when it comes to fitting into the company’s culture due to lack of connect with peers and their leaders or the employees within the company who do not have the privilege of working from home due to their profile of work.
In the end, irrespective of whether an organization or an employee chooses to work from home or from office, it is the power of communication and collaboration that undermines an organization’s and the employees’ success.
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