The New Norm of Working from Home During 2020 Coronavirus Pandemic in Pakistan: Is It Wonderful or Overrated?
With the worsening 2020 Corona-Virus pandemic in Pakistan, companies advised employees to work from home. This ensured employees’ safety as well as the continuation of business as usual. However, the new norm of working from home is not a viable option for everyone! Why?
With the trend of working from home, most of the people still miss clocking in and out from 9 to 5 at their offices. Dressing up, getting ready, commuting to work, face-to-face human interactions, no matter how much they hated it. It was a part of their daily routine. Now when that routine is broken, it is causing them inconvenience. With pyjamas on, hand sanitizer nearby, they are trying to get plenty of work done, but lack of stimulation, household hurdles, a face-to-face interaction with a work related human is making them lazy, less productive and less creative. If it all sounds like you, then you are a work-from-office evangelist, just like me!
I may sound crazy to the other types of quarantined workers who are highlighting the benefits of avoiding the office. No commuting to work, no loud colleagues, no idle chatter around, working in pyjamas, home cooked food, taking care of families and what’s not to love? Sounds like a work-from-home evangelist, eh? Could be you, easily charmed into being ‘homebound’!
In this article, I am going to highlight the best and the worst of ‘why working from home is wonderful or overrated’!
Working from home is wonderful
1. You Work, Love and Play
Work-life balance is one of the biggest advantages of working from home. For example, you can leave for doing quick household chores, rejuvenating naps or playing with kids and can get back the lost time by working a little longer into the evening from your home. This way, you improve work-life balance, which makes it wonderful to work from home.
2. You Are Insanely Productive
Most of the people believe that working at the office increases productivity, but how to stay focused with noisy and disruptive colleagues, who are catastrophic for productivity? This is one of the main reasons why working from home is wonderful as you have no such distractions that are confined to the office environment only.
3. You Feel More Independent
Working from home benefits you much more than getting to work with messy hair and pyjamas on. It teaches you self-motivation and enforces self discipline in your life.
4. You Get Rid of Hellishly Long Commutes
When you work from home, you don’t have to deal with long commutes in cities such as Islamabad, Rawalpindi, Lahore, Karachi or wherever you are, commuting can add 5-9 hours or even more onto the work week.
5. You Can Work at Your Own Pace
If your company allows you to choose two Ws of where and when to work on your own, you can be sure when your creativity and productivity is at its peak. Another reason why working from home is wonderful.
6. You Have The Best Remote Work Tools
In the time of the coronavirus crisis, powerful remote work tools like Slack, Asana, Trello, Google hangouts, Microsoft Teams and many others are enabling you to work remotely with the same efficiency and productivity as you show at the office. No matter if you are work for a digital marketing agency like Urban Arts or a fashion retail brand in Pakistan, everybody is taking the maximum advantage of these remote tools.
7. You Save Money
One of the biggest cost savings is commuting cost. You are not traveling to the office, which means more free time. You are also paring down spending on coffee, tea, biscuits, lunches and a professional wardrobe (What to wear tomorrow?). So is working from home not wonderful?
8. Your Wellness
Companies are protecting their employees from getting infected from coronavirus. One infected person in the workplace can infect the whole workforce. Thus, businesses are advising employees to work from home. This practice is not only helping the business to operate as usual during the pandemic, but also helping them to protect their employees.
All these reasons like setting your own time, free from commuting, taking care of your family, flexibility and convenience make it wonderful to work from home, but it is not the best option for many people who enjoy face to face interactions and bouncing ideas off their colleagues. So let’s dive deep to see what makes working from home sucks!
Working from home is overrated
1. Favors, Favors, Favors- Because You Are at Home
Your family knows that you are working from home, but they might ask you to do house chores or favours because you are at home. For ladies, from making food, doing dishes, making chai (about every other 30 minutes), cleaning the house, eating into your work time (when you have a sweet mother who brings you food every other hour), taking care of kids to pet distractions (why so cute?) and the list goes on. It goes the same for men from eating into work time, to taking care of kids, doing the shopping, pick and drop services, bringing water from filtration plants and what not. Obviously, you won’t mind doing all of these jobs when you are free, but you mind, when you are working. Tell ‘em people working from home does not mean that I am watching shows on Netflix or playing games!
2. Your internet Is Down/ No Internet Package Left
I am sure this one drives you up the wall because when your internet is down or you have consumed all of your internet data, you’re in a hopeless situation. If you face such a situation at the office, you are less worried because you and your team are all in the same boat. When you are working from home and the internet goes down, it means you can’t work. Literally!
3. You Miss Out on Real-Life Human Interactions
When you are working from home, it means working alone. It reminds me of a famous drama dialogue, ’main hoon, aur mere sath bhi main hoon’.
You could be the one bouncing ideas off colleagues, talking to prospects and existing clients, pitching and closing deals, but all you do is to talk to your laptop and get tired and bored of staring at the same walls, you are missing out on face-to-face interactions.
4. No Collaboration
It’s cliché, but true that many people working together in the same room are better, creative with more innovative thinking than the remote collaborators. When you work in an office, you can brainstorm many ideas and tend to solve problems quicker with your team. Even Steve Jobs, inventor of the iPhone, was not a fan of remote working. “Creativity comes from spontaneous meetings, from random discussions,” Jobs said. “You run into someone, you ask what they’re doing, you say ‘Wow’ and soon you are cooking up all sorts of ideas.”
Clearly, it can’t be done while you work from home because you end up talking to yourself only! Crazy!
5. Cost, Cost and Cost
Indeed, you save commuting costs, pare down spending on coffee, tea, biscuits, lunches and a professional wardrobe when you work from home. How about the trade-offs you face when you work from home such as maximizing and paying more for bandwidth to hold video calls and getting your tasks done. Usually, companies bear such expenses, but you have to bear them while working from home.
6. Your Home/Apartment Is Lesser Ideal Workspace
If you do not have a desk with a proper office, you will have constant back pain. When you are home, your family wants to talk to you, it becomes really hard for you to create boundaries and to hold meetings with boss, clients and partners!
Furthermore, you miss out on face-to-face meetings. There are some amazing tools like Microsoft teams, Skype, Google Hangouts which can be used for online meetings with clients, but it is not going to spell the same magic as face-to-face interactions have on your potential client or partner. You will be needing a proper formal setting to build trust and a good impression on your clients and partners.
On one hand, we have work-from-home evangelists who are happier to work from home during 2020 Coronavirus Pandemic in Pakistan. They know many ways to get into social contact even when they are working from home. On the other hand, we have a work-from-office evangelist, who hates working alone. I am one of them and I can’t wait to go back to Urban Arts, my home-like office.
Don’t forget to share your thoughts on the new norm of working from home! Is it overrated or wonderful for you? I would love to hear from you! Please leave your comment below!
Anam Shabir Kiani is the Digital Marketing Executive at Urban Arts, the top creative digital marketing agency in Pakistan. Being a digital junkie, she loves getting businesses a digital makeover. She loves researching, blogging, speaking, writing, chess, makeup, marketing and technology.