When the Covid-19 pandemic started rampaging around the world more than a year ago, very few people could have estimated it would blow up to the degree that it has. In the beginning, the common opinion was that it would all subside within a few weeks. However, we were all in for a big surprise. The weeks turned into months and months turned into a whole year, and we’re still battling with this menace. To prevent massive outbreaks, lockdowns were imposed all over the globe which forced the businesses to resort to the work-from-home model. Prior to the pandemic, the business organisations considered work-from-home to be an inefficient way of working. However, the pandemic has proved it is not the case.
Not only did the work-from-home save many companies from going under the bus, but it has been so effective in some cases that a large number of businesses have announced that they will be permanently transitioning to work-from-home, even after the pandemic subsides.
Thanks to cutting-edge technologies like Video Conferencing and Cloud Computing, the work from home trend has emerged as the savior of economies worldwide. Let us take a look at some of the advantages of working from home.
Advantages of the work-from-home model
- It saves a substantial amount of money that the employees would have to spend commuting to and from their workplace. In case the organisation compensates its employees for conveyance costs, it can save precious capital as well. It is a big deal in these times when most organisations are struggling with liquidity issues.
- It allows the employees to maintain a work-life balance. Contrary to popular belief, work-from-home has increased employee productivity. According to a study conducted by Stanford University with 16,000 workers, working from home can increase productivity by up to 13%.
- Employers can benefit from the work-from-home model as they do not have to spend money on the upkeep and maintenance of their offices. The money that is saved on infrastructural expenditure can then be reinvested towards the growth of the business.
While work-from-home is quickly evolving as one of the favorite working models among employers, there still are a couple of challenges that need to be addressed. They are as follows:
- In a country like ours, internet connectivity is a major issue. There are many regions throughout the country where internet penetration remains low. Therefore, the businesses that require high-speed internet for conducting their operations are facing some trouble. This problem, however, isn’t a permanent one. Internet connectivity is getting better every day and hopefully, it wouldn’t be an issue in a few years.
- Another concern is the safety of remote working environments. People do not have the same level of security measures on their home computers that they would have on their office systems. It means that all the sensitive information is vulnerable to hackers and cybercriminals. Having said that, many IT organisations are deploying revolutionary software to create secure work-from-home environments. Perhaps this issue will be sorted as well in 1 to 2 years.
The uncertainty that the pandemic has created has strong-armed many businesses into transitioning to the work-from-home model. While some have found comfort and success with it, others have still not been convinced about the efficiency of the model for their particular business.
As per a survey conducted by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), Information and Communication and Finance and Insurance are the two industries that are leading in terms of employees working from home – 70% and 67% respectively in March 2021. However, sectors like Retail, Manufacturing, Transportation, etc. haven’t been able to seamlessly transition to the work-from-home model. It shouldn’t come as a surprise either, given that these industries require most of their employees to be on the factory grounds to function.
Economic considerations are important for businesses when it comes to deciding whether or not they’ll willingly adopt the work-from-home model. If the transition leads to a decline in productivity, they will be less likely to do so.
It is difficult to tell what percentage of businesses will continue to work from home after the pandemic subsides but we can certainly say that the number will be significantly larger than what it was in the pre-pandemic era.
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