The whole world had to adapt to the challenges presented by this year’s pandemic, and we are all now living the new normal, daily use of face-masks, and the ability to work from home.
COVID-19 proved to us that many organizations who claimed they couldn’t offer employees an option to work from home before don’t have any other option at the moment if they want to be a part of the industry still. However, the decrease in the employees’ productivity rate showed that there was some logic behind the pre-COVID resistance to work from home. A survey conducted by Globant, found that 49% of 900 U.S. companies reported a decrease in output.
Reasons behind slump in productivity
Many reasons caused the slump in productivity: distraction caused by children, chores at home, lack of quiet spaces to work from, a distraction caused by social media, etc. Parents had to act as full-time school teachers for their children, especially the younger ones, as distance learning did not offer them a choice to leave their 5-year-olds at the mercy of their computers. The chores, especially cooking, had to prioritize as eating out was not an option for at least five to six months.
Moreover, not every apartment or house has extra rooms, which allows the employees to work from a quiet space without family interruption. When working in a professional environment, there is always a chance that someone might overlook your computer or phone activities; however, at home, there is no check and balance about other activities, such as spending time on social media.
Keeping all these reasons in mind, it is no surprise that companies have been reporting a drop in the productivity rate. Furthermore, it is difficult to manage to stay within working hours while working from home, and the extra hours are usually unpaid. The blurry line between work and personal life is taking a toll on employees’ mental health. Globant reported that 67% of employees found it difficult to balance work and leisure while working from home.
Do employees want to go back to working on-site?
While some companies are still debating whether to let go of their office spaces, major companies such as Facebook and Amazon have leased more space as they look forward to their employees’ return. A suitable compromise reached by some companies is using hybrid spaces, where employees can rotate shifts as the need for individual workspaces has decreased.
A vast majority of employees want to return to the office environment. One of the primary reasons employees wish to return is that office spaces have better and improved technology than home spaces where half the time is spent connecting and reconnecting to the internet or asking colleagues if they can be heard over Skype or Zoom.
Although working from home provides employees with more flexibility in work hours, it doesn’t guarantee a positive productivity rate. Employees tend to give more time to work when at home as they fear losing their job. Companies need to introduce support group activities or motivational workshops if they intend to continue work from home in the future.