• Sibel Dağdeviren Özüağ

Working from home: Yea or nay?

In the midst of the global COVID19 crisis going on, I am surprised to observe so many trainers and consultants opening up free online classes, social media influencers and celebrities going live and enjoying online conversations with their followers, singers giving live concerts, scientists broadcasting live debates, family gatherings transformed into Zoom meetings, and so forth. It feels like an accelerated transition to 2090s. All people around the globe have quickly embraced the "digital" way of living.

As you may remember my previous article on the GIG (freelancer) economy, posted back in May 2019 (you may read it here), the young generation talents are very much into working from home (WFH) in order to manage their work-life balance, handle their stress levels, and design the best experience that works for them.

As a long-term defender of "Why not work remotely if the tasks do not require employees to be present in the office?", I am now quite used to receiving objections from business leaders and HR colleagues from various companies and countries, the most popular of them being:

Our employees are not ready for remote working.
We cannot guarantee that our employees are actually working when they are out of sight.
Remote working does not fit our industry/company/culture/...
We do not have the necessary infrastructure.

Yet, here we are. The business world has long been witnessing keynote speakers mentioning a "disruptive transformation" and the COVID19 seems to be the disruption many businesses have been waiting for to align their way of working with the reality, needs and expectations of the modern workers. Yet, we should of course mention the fact that all companies around the globe going through the same transition period has helped everyone to adapt to this new reality.

Curious about whether WFH is a yea or nay now that we all have to experience it, I have recently conducted a survey on my social media accounts, with the participation of 400 of my connections on average (I have raised 2 questions in total). I would love to share the results as follow and extend my thanks to all my followers for the valuable contribution and insights.

Question #1

Does WFH (working from home) allow you to work more efficiently?

Question #2:

Why do you think WFH does or does not enable you to be efficient?

Here are all the valuable insights from those who prefer to WFH:

  1. WFH allows me to create my own daily agenda in line with the hours of the day in which I'm at my utmost energy, efficiency, and creativity.

  2. I wake up in line with my own biological clock and can sleep more as I do not commute. This changes a lot when we talk about efficiency.

  3. I engage in fewer operational tasks but more added-value tasks.

  4. The tranquility at home allows me to better focus and think.

  5. I do not have the interruptions I often have in an office setting.

  6. I love my colleagues but being away from them, I work better and longer.

  7. Being at home is good for me mentally.

  8. I retain a significant amount of my time and energy as I do not commute.

  9. I have kids and elderly to take care of. Hence, being close to them makes me feel very much comfortable and a lot more motivated.

  10. WFH gives me more time in a day as I work, exercise, do the chores, etc.

  11. I spend less money on clothing, cosmetics, perfumery, etc.

  12. I can cook for myself and eat healthy.

  13. WFH is environmentally friendly because 1) I am able to consume all the veggies and fruits that I buy and do not have to throw away leftover and 2) the carbon footprint levels decrease substantially as there is less traffic.

  14. My company can save money on all the unnecessary office costs and bills.

And here are all the valuable insights from those who prefer NOT to WFH:

  1. My home desk/seat is not ergonomically convenient.

  2. I need my teammates to feel motivated and engage in "real" teamwork.

  3. I get even more phone calls on my WFH days compared to my office days.

  4. Having kids and family members around distracts me.

  5. The fact that I have to cook for myself is an extra burden in my life.

  6. I cannot discipline myself with my bed and fridge being only steps away.

  7. I work non-stop and cannot set up a healthy routine and cannot exercise.

I would also love to quote a very candid statement from one of my connections: "I love to WFH. However, with all family members being stuck home due to COVID19 and myself being unable to enjoy working at my favorite café as I usually do, this current forced-WFH does not reflect my overall experience with remote working." - a very fair statement I would love to share with you as well.

Remote working is a culture and hence, I will not assert a bold claim saying COVID19 will completely change our way of working from now on.
I, however, strongly believe that COVID19 has given us the occasion to eradicate the previous suspicions and to witness that employees DO WORK even when they are "out of sight".
(Well, of course! They are adults!)

Are you on the yea or nay side? Please comment below and share your insights!