As the coronavirus pandemic has inadvertently swerved the business’ eyes into the ‘new habit’ of working, there is no doubt that the physical office will be —slowly but surely— dead. Hence, there will be a wider space for ‘working from home’ trend to be desirously welcomed by the employees in the future.
“We want employees to be able to work where they feel most creative and productive”. Jack Dorsey, CEO of Twitter.
It’s kind of a glad tidings for twitter employees as their leader, Jack Dorsey, announced the exhilarating statement due to the new employee’s privilege called ‘the forever work from home’. What makes it look so interesting is that while many companies are facing worries about losing connection to the workplace, there are a number of companies —including Twitter— that confidently embrace it.
On the contrary, The Guardian said that “remote-working” is a new social divide. From what they have posted “The Guardian view on working from home: a new social divide”, they furthermore remarked that this current-trend should be well-handled and well-mitigated due to its downside, as much as it will be set to remain part of millions of people’s lives.
However, what each company has decided about the work from home opportunities brings us two different perspectives, the pros and the cons.
“Work From Home Is Here to Stay”, So the Major Companies Say
We’re facing the fact that the new way to work called ‘Homeworking’ will be going to be a trend as it’s prominently increasing as well. The WFH however is the way of shifting the traditional concept of work toward one that looks worker-centric or we could say, —more flexible. The acceptance of this concept and the boom of the gig economy make it rapidly come to trend.
Since the government mandated the application of lockdowns in each country, the way work-gets-done drastically changed. In consequence, companies started to shift the working model from the system that makes employees commute day by day, to the full-time work from home model.
Though the post-COVID makes the world gradually open back up again, it doesn’t even bring the work environment back to the way it was. Instead, some major companies such as Slack, Shopify, Facebook, and even Twitter began to normalize the work from home model over their employees’ way of work.
What makes it sound more surprising is that this trend may be going to be permanent, as some data reveal the fact. Like Microsoft said, “due to an emphasis on giving employees the flexibility to shape employee’s work choices and meet their lifestyle, some level of working from home would likely become a permanent part of the culture”.
In a similar vein, Gallup by its recent research revealed that around 65% of workers are preferably choosing to work from home post-pandemic. IBM furthermore, that had surveyed respondents over the 2020, shows that nearly 85% of the respondents wanted to work at home. Further, around 58% of them likewise consider their main way of working to be totally remote.
Virtual Research Reveals the Facts that Go Along With
We’re not only talking about what Major Companies have decided due to the trend of work from home to their employees, but also present to you the data that comes from the virtual survey which also looks quite positive —at least for those who use Twitter. As we collected the data from ‘The Conversation’ that have posted “Working from home: Twitter reveals why we’re embracing it”, here is what we can emphasize.
The Conversation began the research-project by March 2020 with the objective of looking for the way of how people are reacting to the pandemic through social networks. They specifically looked into certain hashtags like #Coronavirus and #COVID-19 which involves around 60 million tweets.
To get a deeper result, they focused only on 6.500 messages that contain the hashtag #WFH. As the research was based on the objective ‘to assess how people were feeling about working from home’, the results look flabbergasting.
Around 70.6 % of the tweets gave thought to the work from home idea with a positive response. In addition, the numbers seem increasingly high as the tweets that geographically came from UK-users shows the positive feedback sentiment to 78.6% —whereas they tweeted after the lockdown.
Talking about what research ‘The Conversation’ applied, it’s called “sentiment analysis”. This is the way of analysing using a lexicon-based approach where every tweet is represented as a group of words and scaled from negative to positive to obtain the score. To find the further results and final assessment of the overall tweet-sentiments, they applied a mathematical algorithm.
Not only found the data about how Twitter-users reach WFH, what The Economist did was also intended to understand about the topics most people were talking about. The “topic modelling” method moreover is used to extract themes from text.
In a simpler way, it’s applied to find out what phrases or words that were mostly being used. As a result, multiple words like “inspire”, “respect”, and proactive” dominantly appeared around 3000 times in the #WFH tweets. This phenomenon by The Conversation is inclined as the ‘Word Power’, which led them to inventing other powerful words such as “satisfaction”, “service”, “support”, “remote”, and “good”. These overall sentiments of the social media response due the #WFH can be seen as a positive thing.
Not only the positive ones, there were recorded several negative experiences either due to the domestic life that were also affected, that hence created new and widespread challenges. The issues come from the workers who have to look after children they have. But again, the social media showed the good responses and rose the moments of gratitude due to the work from home. The Survey found small online communities shared #WFH tips and ideas for offering help to others.
But Before We Celebrate, We May Want to Hear the Bottlenecks
What Jack Dorsey and many other major companies’ leaders said about the work from home policy might seem sensational. But before you celebrate as you might be the part of those who do ‘home-working’ this far, there are numerous employees who think contradictory. So, what are the points of the disagreements? Forbes on the article “Is Home the New Office?” told the truth.
1. Mental and Social Well Being
We may only see how people get benefit from this new working model with huge amount of people want to experience a work from home job vacancy, but according to a YouGov Study which involving USA TODAY and LinkedIn in their research show that around 50% of the respondents are struggling with the feeling of lonely during their home working time. What makes it look worse is the fact that this issue also had an impact on their performance.
2. Communication, Collaboration and Creativity
Experts agree that physical meetings are essential, especially for some kinds of aspects. Virtual meeting doesn’t look as immediacy as a physical meeting has. Ulrich Kellerer, the mental health activist, said that in-person interactions will really help to build better relationships with customers in a more direct way.
Further, Kellerer said that in-person interaction is better to conduct people to speak face-to-face which also shows the client’s body language, emotional state, nonverbal cues that ease the company to formulate appropriate responses.
It may be surprising that productivity will be another crucial aspect which divides the employees into two sides, those who feel more productive and couldn’t even find the benefit from it.
We agree that people can and do work from home effectively, but others may don’t. The problem comes from what it’s called “set-up” that should be as well-ordered as the office provides.
The survey held by Asana that covered around 5.140 full-time employees spread across multiple countries such as Japan, the U.K., Germany, U.S. and Australia show the facts.
Around half of them stay at work with no dedicated supporting devices, like a PC, laptop, reliable internet connection, or even desk at their home. While the office provides a high-spec set-up, homeworking leads people to turn their sofas, kitchen chairs, or even beds as workstations.
So, Could We Say That ‘Home’ Is a ‘New Office’ for Employees?
From the executives’ point of view, there are many questions chewed over for months, even years, and they are not sure of the answer. Is working from home the future of work? Could the business operate remotely? Could they work accountability? Would it be easy to keep them stay productive and make them become more successful?
We still could say it’s reasonable, and make no mistakes, here are the quick fixes:
- If the lack of communication will be a challenge and issue that makes employees feel lonely, the solution can be embracing tools of remote communication. Now we easily find tons of tools for remote collaborations such as Slack, Twists to engage collaborative work, Trello or Jira for project management, and a Zoom or Google Meet for video calls.
- Survey reveals that only 52% of employees are using a computer provided by the company. This issue can lower productivity. To overcome this problem, it will be really useful to give company-owned equipment to employees.
- Thing that should also be well-considered by executives is an employee’s accountability. To ensure their output each day, there should be a monitoring system. Now it’s easy to find tracking tools like Top Tracker, Time Doctor, Rescue Time, Toggl, etc, that can help executives ensure that their employees are committed to the organization by accomplishing their responsibility.
Seeing the report of major corporations like Twitter, Facebook, Amazon, Microsoft, JPMorgan, and others that setting out the work from home policy have given us a clear-sighted vision that this work-model may be the solution to help companies survive amid pandemic.