As the COVID-19 pandemic shatters the world and changes almost the whole of our lifestyle, most of us are dealing with concerns, such as the health of family, friends, or themselves. But as life goes on, questions still lie on those who are working while being kept at home because of the Movement Control Order (MCO) by the government, which is Working from Home (WFH).
While some of us might already get used to being at work 24-7, there are still some others who are tight to the usual working hours of 8am-5pm five days a week, as their work is considered as critical which relate to system, filing, customer service and others that require face-t0-face communication.
To some of us who are working from home for the first time, everything might be a little hectic to really focus on work while playing their real life role as parents, siblings, child and spouses. So the main question here is: are they capable or not capable of working from home?
According to the recent survey conducted by the Office of Corporate Affairs, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM) on its community, 73% out of 1040 respondents prefer working in the office. This is not surprising, as most of us find it is just natural to work in the office, with a proper office setup, working colleagues, proper working period of 8am-5pm, and working in the office provides a conducive environment which invites the aura to work.
On the other hand, working from home poses its own challenges where some staff might have difficulties to focus on work, or chores at home especially those who have small children, old folks and others to take care of.
Actually there are always two sides of the story, and we can look at the brighter side of WFH. The survey has concluded that there are at least six major benefits of working from home.
1.Save Money and Energy
How many of us have saved at least half of the normal spending during the first phase of MCO? Previously we were forced to struggle in the traffic jams, with money spent on petrol and tolls, not to mention expensive meals that we spent on lunch working at the office and dinner on the way back from the office. While WFH, we save money on coffee time with colleagues, between meals snack during working and of course the travel expenditure. And less stress being caught in traffic jams, which means happier hours at home.
2. More Family Time
Well, this might be the sole reason why most of us are worried. Rest assured, as a resourceful staff and a good citizen, we can turn everything into good thing. Previously we send kids to school/pre-school and wonder whether they are doing good or not, and some even complaining that their kids grow too fast, thus WFH enables us to do both; to work, and to monitor our kids as well. What is more meaningful than seeing our kids grow in front of us and realize how smart they are now, while not neglecting our responsibility at work?
3. Less Pressure/Stress
Some employees prefer WFH as they ‘suffer’ less pressure for not having to be under tight monitoring from the superior. Being ‘away’ might give them more leniency in making decisions and more focus on their work.
4. Relaxed Environment
Well this might be the best reason why WFH is better; yes you are not obligated to spend time on ironing your formal attire, put on make ups and need to look presentable as you are working at home. Any attire as long as you are comfortable is acceptable. Besides, you are not tight to the punch cards and not need worry about your red record attendance if you are caught in the traffic jam.
5. More Productive
As for academics, research officers and writers, WFH give benefits in your time consumption to produce more research articles. This is because some of you who started very early in the morning writing or reading need not stop to get ready to go to the office. You can now be more focused and not getting much disturbance from other routines at the work place.
6. Better Internet
Some employees might be having difficulties while working in the office as they might face trouble in the limited Internet connection. Thus WFH not only provides better connectivity, it can also give more advantages as you are using your personal computer which is much more convenient.
In UTM, WFH applies to all our employees except for the front liners like the Security Department, the Health Centre and those who manage the students welfare like Student Affairs Department and the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Development).
Thus, the university has practised special means to conduct its main activities, like promoting distance and online learning classes for students, conducting crucial academic and management meeting through online platform, providing extra internet quota for staff as well as conducting staff development course via online.
Apart from that, the university also provides support and training of staff regarding technical improvement and monitoring, preparing a Work From Home guidelines for all staff to guide them during this MCO period.
To consider working form home as troublesome is actually an arguable statement. With all the current situations and advancement in technology in line with the IR 4.0., WFH might actually open up another dimension and meaning of working platform for us.
Therefore employees out there, we can make the most of working from home.