The pandemic sweeping the world, COVID-19, has rendered a large proportion of the workforce unable to commute to work, as to mitigate the spread of the virus. This has resulted in both employers and employees seeking alternative work arrangements, especially in a fast-paced metropolitan like Hong Kong. Due to the pandemic, most if not all workers experienced work from home (WFH). Hence WFH has become a policy priority for most governments. In doing so, the policies must be made keeping in mind the practicality for both employers and employees. However, this current situation provides unique insight into how well working from home works, and may play a vital role in future policies that reshape the current structure of working hours, possibly allowing for more flexibility. Using an exploratory framework and a SWOT analysis, this study investigates the continuing experience of the employer and employees face in Hong Kong. A critical insight and related recommendations have been developed for future policy decisions. It will also critically investigate if this work arrangement will remain as a transitory element responding to the exceptional circumstances, or whether it could be a permanent arrangement.
As appealing as remote work is to employees, it wouldn’t be such a strong trend if employers didn’t also recognize benefits from their side of the desk. Companies with work-from-anywhere policies can boost employee productivity, reduce turnover, and lower organizational costs, according to recent research at Harvard Business School.1 Telecommuting workers with very complex jobs who don’t require a lot of collaboration or social support can perform better than their office-based counterparts, according to another study.2 Also, in the event of a natural or manmade disaster, a distributed workforce is in a better position to keep operations running, even if some of the group goes offline.null
- For employers, working from home can boost productivity, reduce turnover, and lower organizational costs, while employees enjoy perks like flexibility and the lack of a commute.
- To work effectively from home, you’ll need to make sure you have the technology you require, a separate workspace, internet service that meets your needs, a workable schedule you can stick to, and ways to connect with others.
- Top fields for remote work include IT and healthcare; positions include customer service reps, sales reps, project managers, and more.
- A variety of top firms, including CVS Health, Dell and Salesforce, offer remote work opportunities, but it’s also important to be aware of scams.
Advantages for Employees:
- Travel time to and from the office will be saved.
- They can spend more time with family. This is beneficial for many especially for parents of young children.
- Even in modern times, women are expected to take care of home and children. With this responsibility, several women are forced to leave their jobs. The rise in WFH culture is a boon for them. With this more women can join in jobs again.
- The location will not be a barrier. Employees can get a job, even if the office is located in another city.
- If they want to get to know their office and colleagues better, they can attend the office at regular intervals like once a week.
Disadvantages for Employees:
- The line between work and home will be blurred. In general, employees leave work tensions at office and come home to relax. But this opportunity will be lost and it may cause anxiety. If work and personal life are not balanced well, work will extend to longer hours. This can create WFH burnout.
- Employees have to set up a work environment at home, which will incur extra expense. Even then, some people may not focus on work due to the lack of a professional atmosphere.
- Some companies are giving so much work just because their employees are working from home.
- Teamwork is a bit difficult while working from home.
- Working from home from a long periods of time can hamper social and interpersonal skills.
- Continuously staying at home may make some people feel isolated.
- For some people, setting up office space at home may not be an option due to lack of extra space in the home.
- Some jobs may require employees to be online during work hours and the continuous power supply may not be available to many.
- It can be difficult to establish connections with new colleagues because the opportunity to meet and talk with them during coffee breaks will be lost.
Advantages for Companies:
- Less expense for office maintenance.
- Can hire talented people, even if they reside in another city.
- Employees may not ask for much leaves.
Disadvantages for Companies:
- Training new staff can be tough with all the employees working from home.
- Have to deal with WFH specific challenges like information security and hacking of video calls etc.
- It’s difficult to monitor work from home employees.
- It’s hard to establish connections among employees.
Even though work from home culture is on the rise due to COVID-19 situation, work from home opportunities will increase in number to adapt to the changing times. With time, companies and employees will take steps to reduce the disadvantages.