The circuit breaker has fast-tracked seeing the reality of working from home and made it a new normal for Singaporean workers. Based on a survey conducted with nine thousand respondents from about ninety establishments, nine out of ten employees now nurse the idea of working from home to varying degrees.
One respondent who has enjoyed working from home is Mr. Harpreet Singh, an Associate Director of the National University of Singapore Overseas Colleges at NUS Enterprise. Mr. Singh observed that working from home is ideal because of the flexibility that it offers. It affords him time to spend with his children. However, he remarked that the working style makes him miss the face-to-face interactions with colleagues at work. Mr. Singh’s opinion here perhaps sums up most employees’ thoughts about the work style. Clearly, this style has both advantages and disadvantages. The rest of this article looks into these.
Pros of Working from Home
Work from home comes with a lot of advantages. And one that comes in handy is that it affords the employees more control and flexibility of time, as Mr. Singh noted earlier. The time needed to get prepared for work can be saved for other things. No more crowded buses or trains in the early or closing hours of the day. While planning to catch the early bus, someone else may have finished their first task for the day if they are at home working.
What about the flexibility of working hours? An employee can decide on when to resume work and when to stop. They can also decide on how to maximize their creativity and productivity with respect to the time they are at their peak. Concerning this, many employees have reported that their output improved significantly since they have been working from home.
Again, working from home lowers costs drastically. If an employer decides to allow his/her staff to work from home, he/she will be saving himself/herself a lot of money for the workspace. The employees also get to save costs on work attire and transportation fees.
Cons of Working from Home
Now, while work from home does have advantages, there are lapses that it fails to address.
An easy shortcoming to spot is the difficulty with communication among the members of a team. Regardless of the seamless communication tools and virtual platforms at hand, some things are easier and quicker explained when next to the person. The chances of missing important details are more rampant in a flexible workplace.
Since working from home cannot ascertain effective communication, it cannot guarantee the staff’s necessary bonding. After all, Mr. Singh affirmed that he missed interacting face-to-face with his colleagues at work. There may be calls, emails, and face-times. Still, you will be alone.
Highly sensitive information is quite vulnerable when working from home. Hackers can manipulate private networks and VPNs. And information gotten can be weaponized.
Mr. Isaac Chew, the Vice President of Evergreen Group, has shared his opinion on this. Given that 9 in 10 employees have enjoyed it, work from home has come to stay. Establishments now have to blend the virtual workspace with the conventional space, even post Covid-19. They have to look into profiting from both styles, for the growth of their businesses.