The Advantages and Disadvantages of Working from Home and Organizational Policies

The Benefits of Working from Home: The Employees’ Perspective

A typical challenge for working professionals, especially women, is to maintain work life balance with regards to ensuring that neither their family life nor their career suffers because of the other.

In this context, a trend that has been noticeable in the last decade or so has been the aspect of working from home wherein professionals connect through remote access and by using virtual teams by working from home. This gives them the time to devote to their families and take care of kids and other familial matters.

Research has shown that employees are more productive when they work from home as the relative peace with which they work ensures that they devote their best efforts to work. Further, as there are no disturbances in the form of workplace buzz, professionals can focus on work when needed and spend the rest of the time attending to their families.

However, many organizations are yet to evolve a coherent and cohesive working from home policy, which is surprising given the rather obvious benefits of the practice. Apart from that, in recent months, the internet giant Yahoo! has sent out a clear policy that working from home would not be tolerated. Not all these developments augur well for the future of professionals as they seek to maintain the work life balance and ensure that they give their best to their organizations.

The Disadvantages of Working from Home: The Employers’ Perspective

Many organizations point to the fact that employees when they work from home miss important meetings and appointments with other employees as well as other employees being unable to contact them for assistance and help. The point that employers make is that when working in teams, physical presence is as important as employment and hence, the organizations cannot take chances on this front.

Further, many HR professionals point to the fact that when employees work from home, it imposes additional costs on the organizations in terms of home connectivity and other infrastructural aspects, which the organizations have to pay for the employees.

Apart from this, many managers also point to the fact that when employees work from home, there is a knock on effect wherein other employees want to follow suit and this creates a situation that is undesirable from the organizations’ perspective. Finally, many employers also point to the fact that there is no way to keep tabs on the employees’ working hours when they work from home and hence, there is no way of knowing whether the employee is being extra productive or merely postponing work to be done once they return to the workplace.

A Mutually Beneficial Arrangement

Given these advantages and disadvantages, it would be worthwhile to note that it is high time the organizations came up with set policies regarding this practice and ensure that it is a win-win situation for all parties. For instance, employers can permit women to work from home in case of legitimate reasons and at the same time, it can permit all employees to work from home for certain duration every month.

By coordinating the times when the physical presence of employees is not needed at the workplace and letting them work from home during those times, employers can make everyone’s life a lot easier. On their part, employees must understand that by working from home, they are compensating and making up for the lack of physical presence at the workplace by attending all calls (conference calls, virtual meetings, and bridge calls) and by also being available for assistance and help to other employees.

Concluding Thoughts

In this respect, newer technologies offer a way out for the dilemma being faced by employers as the concept of virtual teams and the technologies used to actualize it can work to the benefit of all parties. Finally, both employees and employers have to realize that the employment contract that they are bound to is not violated in any way when the employees work from home.

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