When the world was attacked by COVID 19 and with no proven drug/vaccine available xfor treating the infected people, social distancing between individuals was advocated as immediate solution to solve the problem. Even as the unending debate continue on the causes and effect of COVID 19, the lockdown was imposed to enforce social distancing, which has now proved to be very costly for the economy of the countries around the world even though people are working from home.
To lessen the burden on the economy and to keep the productive operations being continued to the extent possible, working from home was suggested as solution to reduce the adverse impact on the economy.
With the working from home concept being adopted by several government departments and companies around the world, the debate started about the merits and demerits of working from home. Till today, the last word has not been said about the merits and demerits and the appropriateness of concept of working from home.
The ground reality is that the types of functions where work from home can be carried out and the potential number of people who could work from home in various functions are very limited , since most of the operations are carried out in shop floor and in commercial enterprises, where work from home is not possible at all. Therefore, obviously, working from home is not a full or even significant solution to keep the economy moving.
At best, work from home is suitable only for some operations and organisations like software, consultancy etc. with the aid of modern communication facilities and technology. Even in such cases, where working from home can be possibly practiced, there are serious limitations and bottlenecks in ensuring efficiency and productivity of those working from home.
Many believe that efficiency of working from home may be less than 50-% in most cases, since the requisite guidance from the superior authorities can not be provided to the desired level in carrying out the task. Often, such instructions and guidance call for face to face meetings and with continuous interactions.
Further, in working from home , there cannot be discipline of time bound working hours and inevitably, people will relax or get disturbed or have diversion of the attention from the targeted tasks and duties due to variety of reasons.
The most important factor is that it is possible that quite a number of people who work from home may not have the commitment and duty consciousness to the level required and they may need strict supervision to ensure their output.
While systematic detailed study is yet to be conducted to ascertain the efficiency level of working from home, many senior executives seem to be under the impression that employees working from home is not an ideal or desirable method of running an organization. They seem to think that large scale level of people working from home will impact the overall performance of the organisations very severely and this practice will not stand the test of time.
Of course , the employees in the organisations “who enjoy the pleasure of working from home” seem to feel extremely happy, as they do not have to commute to the office, can have flexible working hours and can relax whenever they need, even as they do not lose their salary and perks.
In most of the functions, the output is not measurable on day today basis and therefore, those working from home may even be able to escape from the scrutiny of their output.
The concept of working from home may work in the case of self employed people, who set the target for themselves and may put forward the best of efforts to achieve the target set for themselves whether they ” work from home or outside the home”
The concept of working from home is not new and is known for long. In the COVID 19 period , the option of working from home has been adopted as a measure of least choice with no other option open.
Some software companies have come out with the vague claims that they can ask large number of employees to work from home in the post CIOVID 19 period too, as it would benefit the organization by having to have less working space, less power consumption etc. etc. However, from the point of view of cost benefit analysis, working from home will not be found advantageous in the short or long run. . The organisations which opt for employees working from home as permanent practice in the post COVID 19 period, will realize their mistake and will learn at a cost and would give up this practice very soon.