The CO(Working)VID-19 Effect: Office lives on despite WFH

No long, uncomfortable commutes. No managers or co-workers to make you check over your shoulder. No one stealing your lunch from the office fridge. Work from Home (WFH) is wonderful. Or is it?

While the world is learning to adapt, albeit at a very sharp curve to accommodate remote working and Work from Home, I personally believe WFH sucks, not because there are trust issues with employees or individuals can’t really be productive at homes, but the reasons include lack of availability of required resources and learning atmosphere which come with Private Offices or Co-working Spaces.

1. Work-life Balance

Office timings help individuals prioritize work during work hours and personal life during the rest of the day. As the responsibilities of work and home come under one roof with WFH, drawing the line between work and home becomes difficult and lowers down satisfaction both personally and career-wise.

2. Network/Internet/Power Issues

A large number of employees resort to Work from Home using 4G Hotspots which are again good for basic access but lags in video-conferencing, live streaming, and heavy downloading. A good, reliable Hi-Speed internet connection with a backup provisioning is a rarity for most homes and sometimes very expensive to afford but is easily available in an office environment.

3. Data Security

The quality of the security of a home network cannot be modified or controlled by the company and thus can be susceptible to data loss and leakage. This is extremely dangerous when we take into account that sensitive company data is being transmitted to personal networks with little to no enterprise grade data security measures.

4. Resource Sharing

One of the most subtle aspects that have been taken for granted on a daily basis. Company data and information needs to be shared and downloaded multiple times with lags in between whereas at the office it could have been stored on a local server to be accessed at its most updated version. Also, printing, courier, and meeting rooms & availability of personal workspace is not conveniently available for all employees.

5. Adverse Health Impacts

Daily commute and moving around at work form a large part of the unconscious daily exercise routine of many people. Without being able to go through this routine, people are bound to become lethargic and less motivated to work. This has serious health implications which are easily avoidable and highly treatable.

6. Communication

Although sending emails or pings can serve the purpose of communication within the team, it does not have the same efficiency or speed to replace physical communication. Often this results in miscommunication, avoidable delays, lowered productivity and misinterpretation. Only 7% of all communication is with words, with the rest being conveyed by body language and tonality of the speaker.

7. Fear of Inadequacy

Asking for help while working from home can be interpreted as a lack of capability and could cause people to struggle and suffer unnecessarily. This can be seen in some cases where people struggle with loneliness, anxiety, depression, fear of being let go and darker thoughts that are resolved with unspoken ques and gestures that come with physical interaction and presence in the office.

8. Training and Guidance for Juniors

It becomes much more difficult to manage and teach people that require help and monitoring. With WFH, mistakes will be noticed only when the completed product is being shown for review. Nipping these mistakes in the bud saves precious time and resources while improving the overall efficiency and productivity of the team. The biggest to be impacted are the juniors who are yet to learn and develop, they often require the attention of their co-workers in real time to learn the tricks and trades of the processes.

9. Free Coffee and Snacks, Office Parties

Although efforts are being made to maintain office culture while at home, people no longer can participate in office banter and discussions at the water-cooler. Most importantly, they do not have access to the free coffee, snacks and parties.

These are just some of the simple thoughts that come to mind while thinking of WFH. There are many benefits to working from home at short limited intervals. The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted all office and public spaces and change is inevitable. However, I do not believe that WFH will replace office spaces in the medium to long term. These are just my thoughts on the matter and I hope this list makes us appreciate our time in the office little more.

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