Let’s face it. These past months have not only changed up our everyday words and behaviours but also how we work. From waking up in the morning just to sit in front of your laptop while hoping your internet connection would be kind enough to you and ensure smooth virtual meetings with your team to hoping your day is productive enough without internal and external distractions—what a time to be alive.
And of these new words, working-from-home and remote working have become the most popularly used word amongst companies/organisations and in the media. According to the Newsbank Access World News survey, there is a whopping 1200% increase in the number of articles focused on Work From Home or WFH on a weekly average.
But when we say ‘I’m working from home’ or ‘I work remotely’ what do we mean exactly?
Work From Home
Literally, this would mean you are at home, and you’re working. But isn’t that what we all do with house chores anyway? However, that’s not the absolute meaning, especially when you are referring to work being done by an employee in your organisation.
In the business world, Work from home means performing your work duties using technological tools from the physical location of your home.
Popularly written as WFH, it became a widespread movement in Nigeria around March as a bid to help flatten the curve of the COVID-19 disease outbreak globally.
Before then, WFH which was first attested as a noun in 1995 and as a verb in 2001 was mainly used by top companies such as IBM to eliminate factors that hinder the productivity of its employees.
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A swift glance at this some years back and you would strain your eyes and brain wondering how ‘remote’ and ‘working’ can make sense in the same context to start with.
However, the current global change has made things we did not foresee become the norm. Remote working is closely related to work from home, but they are not the same. While work from home implies you are working from home; remote work means you are working from a place other than your office.
In most cases, this could be due to road blockades causing commute delays to the office, access to stable electricity, stable internet connectivity (that wouldn’t embarrass during a client briefing), increased productivity, access to networking opportunities and team bonding.
A remote worker for a company in location X can opt for the option of remote working from location Y to allow for faster outputs and increased productivity.
Benefits of Working from Home (WFH)
One major benefit of working from home is the flexible schedule employees and business owners have. If work isn’t time-constrained, then you can decide to work at the best time that works for you and still ensures you deliver on the expected results.
No more resuming by 8 am, if you are a night owl and work better through the night. You are more in control of what happens when it happens, and how it happens.
The stress of commuting in a city like Lagos can be quite exhausting with the poor road networks and ever-increasing vehicular traffic.
Avoidance of this stress is one of the top reasons why people choose to Work from Home. While at home and working, there is no worry about waking up early to beat traffic or getting home so late.
Your bank account would indeed be smiling when you work from home because it would have time to get fatter. There are so many expenses you would be spared. Costs of transportation, feeding, laundry, etc will all diminish rapidly.
As at the time of the lockdown in the country, Nairametrics.com states that lack of all these everyday business transactions could lead to the loss of about 2.7 trillion Naira in trade for the country.
As interesting as WFH might sound though, myriad challenges are lying in wait. Such as:
Break? What’s a break?
This is certainly what it feels like when working from home. Before you know it, you’ve skipped breakfast, lunch and you’re not even thinking of dinner because you are still punching your keypads. This does not help anyone, because working intensely for long periods to no end puts the body under considerable strain. Very soon, one would begin to feel overly exhausted and overwhelmed, which would then affect effectiveness & productivity.
No more teamwork:
Honestly, you’re now a team of one when you are working from home. You get to pick it when you drop it. No colleague to turn to and ask for help, you are on your own. Even though this may help you to develop some much-needed skills, it does not help with achieving results effectively and timely.
You can’t get it done…and in time
As much as you have all the time since you are working from home, you also need to be able to do things swiftly and more efficiently. Most employees struggle with this as they no longer have a supervisor standing over them to ensure work is done as and at when due. Most would start off their day with a long to-do list, but a few hours later would have strayed from the task at hand to other distractions thereby leading to a less productive day for them and the company as a whole.
Lack of interaction and the feeling of community
We are all humans after all, and no matter where we are, we long for daily human interactions. This is one large disadvantage of working from home, there’s no opportunity to network or share ideas and innovations with other people. The energy and agility level would definitely depreciate and one may end up being overly monotonous.
Remote working, on the other hand, counters most of the ills associated with WFH. Here are 4 benefits of Working Remotely:
Benefits of Working Remotely
Experience Something New
Because this is not your usual office and everything at your remote office is probably unique, you naturally get more active and are willing to explore and perform better.
You get to learn a new way of getting things done and bring more innovative ideas on how your company can move forward.
You get to reduce your overhead costs if you’re working at a workspace closer to your home with no need to incur an extra expense for electricity, building charges or even service charge.
You don’t have to pay to park or get bothered about outdated or poorly functional tools or utilities. More so, there is no need to spend money on internet connectivity.
Of all the costs incurred in Working from Home, the costs of acquiring and having stable internet connections can be quite a burden on personal finances in a country like Nigeria. But one of the perks of working out of a serviced office space is not having to worry about this at all as it will be handled by the facility provider.
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Access to More Networking Opportunities
Popular author, Porter Gale once said: “Your network is your net worth” And no truer words have since been said about networking.
The golden opportunity remote working provides is the increased probability of meeting fellow entrepreneurs who you can learn from and exchange ideas with.
Most remote workspaces would usually have 1/2 networking events lined up monthly e.g Happy hours, Lunch/Learn/Links etc. And since collaboration is better than the competition, you can be sure your company would benefit from these strategic relationships.
Access to Technology
The digital transformation is not smiling, and neither are businesses. The current business landscape only favours those who know how to use technology to play and win. Working effectively in this pandemic era goes beyond just working.
Rather, every business owner & employee must deploy technology tools to aid work collaboration and efficiency. And when you work in a remote workspace that has provision for this, you are not only getting the advantage of technology but also saving the extra costs you would have used in purchasing the required infrastructure and equipment.
But working remotely has its own challenges as well:
Challenges of Working Remotely
For individuals who are not so receptive of change, they may find this to be very awkward. Because now they are meeting new people in a new environment other than what they knew before.
And this, in return, can affect their effectiveness on the job. However, adaptability is an essential skill for a successful employee and change of environment can actually be a good learning experience for them.
Managing a Remote Team
For most companies, having an organised workforce becomes a problem when you have staff working remotely. And this is because, now, you are not just bothered about the team at the office, but even those out of office.
Remote workers are not in the main office. Hence knowing what they are doing and if they are doing it right can be a challenge for any company/organisation.
So there you have it, the differences between Working from Home and Working Remotely.
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How to Choose the Right Option for Your Company
Based on your business reality, which of the options would you choose to deploy and why? The 4 questions below will act as a guide to help ensure you make the right choice;
- What do you intend to achieve for your company?
- How many employees do you have?
- How would you describe your staff, highly adaptable? Or rigid?
- Which of the departments/functions in your organisation are agile?
While the Hybrid approach – alternating work patterns in a way that some employees would work from the office for a certain period while the others work from the office – has been proposed by some organisations as the best option.
A more organised and cost-effective approach would be to take advantage of suitable remote workspaces, especially when they are running discounts to help other businesses survive the stress of the pandemic.
This way, your employees get to experience a new work style, you optimize your costs, access valuable networking opportunities and increase the efficiency and productivity of your team/employees.
At The Zone, we understand the importance of being agile, especially in a time such as the one we are all in. That’s why our safe, secure and serviced workspaces are purpose-built to enable your team remain highly productive, effective and focused on helping your business succeed.
We would love to tell you more and show you around, book a tour (virtual or physical) at firstname.lastname@example.org
We look forward to your comments, answers, and questions!