The article is contributed by Vivek K Singh, Co-founder and Director, Careerera.
Before the pandemic, letting employees work from home was a fear for many companies because they believed that there would be less productivity. Several organisations shifted to remote working for the very first time during the pandemic. This was a major adjustment for both employees and employers.
The key differences between office culture and WFH culture are:
Audio/Video conferencing is the only mode of communication during work from home, however, face-to-face communication is something that you can get in office space only. Face-to-face interaction is not only beneficial for business talks, but it strengthens the relationship and rapport between co-workers. There is something about relationship building which happens when you sit next to your colleagues or bump into each other at elevators.
Being immersed in a daily work routine allows you to interact with new people, which can benefit you professionally in the future. These acquaintances might benefit you with new projects or job opportunities. All such benefits are missing from working from home.
An average worker spends 30-120 minutes commuting to work, depending on the location, traffic, and many other factors. But, this time can be saved while working from home. However, there are many employees who enjoy waking up early, dressing up for the office, and having a separation between home and the office. Many employees even start freelancing while saving their commute time, this could affect the productivity of the employee for their primary employer.
You have a set schedule while working from the office, the alarm goes off at a particular time, you have breakfast at the same time every day, and you are at your work desk around 9-10 a.m. in the morning. Work from home is a little different, you don’t have to get up early to get ready for work, and you have the flexibility to choose and tailor your schedule. The extra time saved due to not commuting to work daily is often put towards taking on side projects or freelance work.
Vibes are different when you work from the office: the professional set-up, better connectivity, enhanced engagement, exchange of ideas, fun during breaks, shared laughter, meaningful conversations with colleagues, and whatnot. The tasks are being carried out in functional and highly optimised workspaces. This allows the free circulation of employees in a fluid manner, and it improves and increases interaction with colleagues. You won’t get such vibes while working from home, as there is a limited workstation. You might also find some distractions at home, these could be kids, television, power cuts, household noises, etc.
Being isolated in a room for WFH sometimes becomes boring and it makes you lose your interest in work. It may have a negative impact on your mental health as you live and work in the same area, and you won’t find a routine that works for you. Employee engagement, including regular chit-chats and team catch-ups, can help improve mental health when woven into a regular routine.
Work from home cuts costs for both employees and employers. When you go to the office, you pay the costs of commuting, parking, maintenance, eating out, and fancy clothes, but you can save a lot of money when you work from home. The same goes with employers, they can save the cost spent on housekeeping, taxes, helping staff, rent and utilities, and many other such expenditures.
Various organisations have had to switch to remote work for the first time, during and post the pandemic. This puts pressure on managers, as they’ve never had to manage their teams remotely. During WFO, managers have a clear view of what their team is working on, who is working and who is not. They can go to them and ask questions, have whiteboard meetings, and have daily check-ins to make sure everything is on track. Productivity increases when you work from the office. That’s not the case with WFH, everything is being done remotely, and management becomes more arduous.
Since the pandemic, the debate between work-from-home and work-from-office cultures has become the talk of the town. Both cultures come with their own merits and demerits. Many employees find the work-from-home culture better because it helps them save commute time and also gives them time flexibility. On the other hand, many prefer to work from the office because it helps them communicate better with their co-workers, contributing to their enhanced productivity. The above article highlights the key differences between office culture and WFH culture that will help you gain an understanding of both.