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Debate: Work from Home Versus the Office

The pandemic has sparked one of the biggest experiments in the world – Remote working.

At the height of the pandemic, an average of 68% surveyed across Asia Pacific worked from home, with Singapore leading at 81%. While in the U.S, the statistics increased from 17% before the coronavirus, to 44%.

While perceptions have been shifted, is it for everyone in the long term? Are you more productive working from your dining table at home versus an office environment?

Let’s discuss the factors.

One of the biggest benefits of working from home is the time and money saved from commuting. In Singapore, people spend an average one-way commute time of 30 to 45 minutes. This do not just adds up in time wasted, but level of stress and anxiety.

When it comes to productivity and work-life balance, it is not as apparent. There are two schools of thought and an endless debate. Studies show that remote employees work 1.4 more days per month as compared to their counterparts working in the office. However, does working longer hours equate to higher productivity?

The flexibility of time when working remotely allows you to attend to the needs in your personal life such as running errands, squeezing in lunchtime workouts, dropping off the kids etc. This is great, but this group of people also more often than not ends up working after the official work hours. This can lead to other employees feeling compelled and end up replying to the email sent at 9pm. Some have also argued that these personal life factors are distractions, thus reduces work productivity, while others think the home environment is where you can block out unnecessary pantry chats or meetings.

Meanwhile, we cannot ignore the importance of human interactions. Zoom is a technology that is absolutely essential in this new normal, but no technology can fully replace face-to-face interactions. Other than satisfying our social needs, creative tasks are sparked through communication and inspired by the environment.

As we attempt to strike the balance to reap the benefits of both, it is perhaps time for companies to look into a “hybrid” model.

What are your thoughts on the topic? Connect with us on Facebook (@gathercowork) and share with us in the comments section of this post.