In the past 18 months, the employees who availed the home office option most are the corporate jobholders. Many returned to the office soon after the vaccination began while others are still operating from home.
As everything has come back to total normalcy with the opening of educational institutions, the writer tried to understand the corporate job holders’ mindset regarding home office and whether they would like to continue it.
YES for work from home
Mehzabeen Mostofa, who lives in Bashundhara alone, is working as a music manager at a radio station in Banani. When asked about her work-from-home experience, she said that she loved it as it reduced her transportation cost.
Mehzabeen also told this scribe that living alone did not contribute to loneliness because of the isolation; not having people around gave her enough space to conduct her work-from-home more efficiently.
“It did not put me in any additional stress and I do wish to go back to work from home again if possible.”
“Initially, work-from-home was tough as it was difficult to navigate the new phenomena and internally, how people were taking it. But now I can properly utilise my time by dividing work and family time,” said Arafat Khan Chowdhury, senior Customer Success Account Manager of Microsoft Bangladesh.
Mr Arafat was happy to be able to avoid Dhaka’s unavoidable traffic while working from home. Although he is back at the office, he wants to have the work from home facility back and try both simultaneously.
“Employees are too focused on work due to the absence of other disturbances. In the future, I might want to divide my work time in a 60/40 ratio; 60 per cent at home and 40 per cent at the office.”
NO for work from home
Mahbuba Ashraf Ripa, residing in Baridhara DOHS, is a senior official of a renowned private bank in Bangladesh. Last year, she mostly worked from home which she does not remember as a good experience.
“Meetings could be scheduled at any time in the day which was really challenging for me to join. I had to juggle between my office work with my son’s school routine,” shared Ms Ripa.
She had to make a separate workstation at her home to accommodate her office work. Hence, she does not wish to go back to work-from-home ever again.
Raihanur Rezwan, Product Executive at ACI consumer brands, also doesn't want to go back to work from home. “It is easier to communicate at the workplace. Dealing with multiple documents, attending meetings from home are problematic,” he said.
He also faced difficulties in maintaining a proper timetable while working from home.
Waliul Islam, a marketing associate in Germania Holdings Ltd, shared his work from home experience, “Working from home was difficult for me because I found it to be harder to communicate with co-workers and clients, and also the routine becomes monotonous.”
“I had to create a workstation in my bedroom,” stressed Waliul. “And at one point I even took out the bed for more productivity but it did not really work.”
How are the effects?
According to a survey conducted by the World Economic Forum - Ipsos, a multinational market research and consultancy organisation, Covid-19 caused approximately 30 per cent of working individuals to take a leave of absence.
Changes in work routines and organisation were stressful to 56 per cent of the respondents, while changes in job security were unpleasant to 55 per cent. When working from home, nearly half of those respondents said they felt lonely or alone.
More than 40 per cent stated their productivity had decreased and that getting work done at home was difficult.
Working from home or from the office depends on people’s work nature, mindset, working environment, etc. Although opinions may vary, we all know working from home is going nowhere.
As Fahim Hasan Ashrafi, who has recently launched his own restaurant in Banasree, believed that the whole thing depends on the nature of the job.
“I mostly had to deal with Chinese traders as I am fluent in Chinese; this work did not really require staying at the office for a long period of time.”