—Article by Audrey Hinchcliffe
Home is a place where people live as an individual or as a family. Workplace is a place of employment such as an office or factory. So how did we get to where our home now becomes our place of employment or work?
The term ‘work from home’ means someone is working from their house, apartment, or any place where one resides. Then there is remote work which means working from anywhere; an employee does not travel to a central place to work, whether office, factory or from anywhere a business is operating.
Based on the foregoing, it means that one can be in two places at once. This is where workplace and home collide.
I have nothing against work from home or working remotely except when it compromises my home as my castle.
The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic did not thrust work from home upon us, it has simply highlighted it. The concept has been around for some time when some workers, particularly younger ones, preferred freedom over stability.
Corporations seized on the concept taking into consideration that the pros outweighed the cons and were willing to embrace both. I am not sure how the weighting pans out based on my personal experience. Work needs to be left where the business is and my home left as my castle.
I can only surmise that the pros and cons for individual employees are also personal to them, so long as it is a choice and not an imposition.
The difficulty being in two places at once contradicts the notion that home should be a refuge from work. Productivity comes from working extra time in which socialization is lost. We cannot live at the workplace so work should not move into my home. Therefore, work from home should be a temporary status in response to an unavoidable circumstance such as the coronavirus or any other situation which causes a disconnect between getting from home and going to the workplace and vice versa.
Regardless of the pros and cons to justify work from home, these should not be a long-term fix. Not every employee can enjoy the advantages as their personal situations may not allow them to. For example, disruptions and interruptions from co-workers may be the same at home by family members and their visitors.
Transportation may be eased but communication can be compromised by lack of internet capability. The conversation on work from home has also morphed into the future of work which embraces a hybrid workforce.
Called by any other names, work from home – short or long term must be based on a given circumstance which is specific to a country, business operation and job requirements, and of course the employee involvement in their own interest as well.
In two places at once is not sustainable neither for business nor the employee.
Much more work needs to be done in this regard to establish the Jamaican context. It would be good to hear the experiences of companies that have embarked on either work from home or remote work.
Audrey Hinchcliffe is the CEO and founder of the Manpower and Maintenance Services Group. Email feedback and other correspondence to: firstname.lastname@example.org.