The COVID-19 pandemic is no doubt a major disruption. As business leaders, we took on the challenge to find ways to continue operations when lockdowns were imposed and mobility was heavily limited.
One of the most popular ways used by businesses all over the country is the work-from-home setup. Because of this, online conferencing apps like Zoom have become a household name and even a subject of numerous memes on social media.
No doubt, the work-from-home setup has kept us afloat. In all fairness, it is moderately successful in keeping businesses running. But now that employees have seen that the setup is indeed doable, when the pandemic is over many of them may want to keep this arrangement permanent. But should you allow it?
It's definitely less stressful for many.
In the conventional setup, many of us have to wake up early to prepare ourselves for work and for the commute. Many were dealing with frustratingly long commutes because of rush hour traffic.
With the work-from-home setup, people can recoup that time on regenerative activities such as spending quality time with loved ones and sleeping, which has been proven to have a positive impact on mood and overall productivity. Being able to do these things also helps to keep stress and its negative effects at bay.
In addition to this, the work-from-home option can also make your business look environmentally friendly. Because your employees are not driving to and from work anymore, their gas emissions are most likely reduced, which is definitely a good thing for the earth.
Reduced overhead costs.
With people now working from their homes, the need for a huge space to accommodate them will be greatly reduced. With this, your headquarters can now be easily transferred to a much smaller and much cheaper place, reducing the price of a major item in your overhead expenses list.
Your need for utilities such as an office-based Internet will also be reduced. You will not have to deal with issues like employees having difficulty to find your wifi key (though this is quite easy to address with the right technical help) because they will be using their home wifi. As a bonus, employees being at home will help minimize employee's stealing time from each other with unnecessary chats, interactions, and even 'quick' additional out-of-scope work.
You get to take advantage of diverse talent.
Many companies hesitate to hire foreign workers, no matter how good they are, because of the high costs of physically bringing them in. They will have to pay for the foreign employees' visas and even a few months of accommodation.
All these logistical issues will vanish with the work-from-home arrangement. You can practically hire everyone that you like as long as they have a stable Internet connection. You can find a lot of them on freelancing sites such as Upwork and professional social media like LinkedIn.
Because of all the good things that it brings, you might be inclined to say yes to a work-from-home arrangement. But you have to understand that this setup may still not be for everyone. You have to make sure that the employees allowed to have this arrangement are disciplined and pretty much self-directed. Otherwise, monitoring and keeping them engaged will be challenging.