Our Blog

Work From Home

In Human Resources Work , February 24, 2020

Over the past 2 decades or so, many corporates worldwide have come to realize that ‘work from home’ work culture is here to stay; and why not, it’s proving to be exceedingly productive both to the employee as well as the employer alike when implemented right.

It may be noted here that different terminologies are in vogue like – Telecommuting, Virtual office program, Home-working, Work-at-home etc.,

In this artefact, I intend to fathom both the benefits and the challenges associated with this emerging work culture.

Let me start by examining the benefits –

  • Better Work/Life Balance & Higher Job Satisfaction – Work/life balance is the fundamental aspiration of any modern professional. This could be achieved through being physically located at home. This enables the employee to find a better balance between career goals and family life. Spending more time with family generally makes employees happier, which contributes to a reduction in the stress levels and an increase in job satisfaction.
  • Reduced Stress – The stress of commuting in bumper-to-bumper traffic at rush hour in many countries is extremely counterproductive and can lead to disgruntled workers who are already exhausted and worn before they have even begun their day. This is especially true where the workplace is far from the office, which is the case most often. Other stresses often cited include office politics, unfriendly coworkers, a suboptimal work environment and constant distractions.
  • More Productivity – Removed from the stresses and distractions of the workplace and working independently in their own preferred environment at their own pace, professionals are often a lot happier and a lot more productive.
  • Lean Office Infrastructure – Any organization having a robust ‘work from home’ policy can double up by optimizing their infrastructure and over-head costs. This could have a positive impact in reducing pollution levels due to decrease in commuting.
  • Higher Employee Retention – Since employees would be working out a location they are most comfortable and without direct supervision, employee are bound to feel happy and hence chances of employee retention are greater.

Let us not shift our focus on the challenges –

  • Not all Jobs suit this Work Culture – This work culture might be more suited to knowledge workers who can contribute their work pool even remotely. However, of-late many organizations have actively identified specific roles which can be allotted for work-from-home options.
  • Strategize a Work-from-Home Policy – HR function and its Talent Management wing become a very important stakeholder in implementing this policy in any given organization.  They need to have resilient means-and-tools to ensure a smooth and flexible day-to-day execution of this employee affable policy.
  • High Work-from-Home Setup Costs – The initial setup costs (equipment /communication /ensuring information security etc.,) if not properly planned might spiral out of proportion making this mechanism unfeasible.
  • Difficulty in Monitoring Employee’s Performance – A clear performance management mechanism needs to be put in place to ensure that HR is able to monitor /measure the employee’s performance while s/he is working from home. Even more, the team manager also need to have a strong mechanism to allocate and extract work from the team members on a continual basis. Any performance issues arising out this work culture might go unnoticed for a period of time; if so, this arrangement might start to become counterproductive.
  • Need for high self-discipline – Working from home might not suit everyone. It takes a lot of dedication, self-control and discipline to motivate oneself to persevere in working at home alone over the long run without succumbing to the distractions and losing drive and momentum. Often a partial arrangement where the employee reports into the office once or twice a week is the optimal arrangement as it allows for close interaction with colleagues and supervisors and ensures that the employee remains in touch with company developments while still permitting them the comfort and convenience of working from home.
  • Difficulty in separating Home from Work – The temptation or most often obligation to engage in household matters since you are at home is often very strong. Suddenly you may be obliged to clean the home, do the shopping, the childcare, the cooking, the home finances and the socializing all this while meeting the full requirements of the job too. It is extremely essential to draw the line between home and work so as to avoid both areas suffering.


By – Ravishankar S Aiyar

Vice President – Consulting

Aavishkaar Consulting