The toughs and triumphs of working remotely

Working remotely was prevalent for a while now with the aim at giving employees flexibility in finding the right work- life balance, however, the pandemic and endless travel restrictions has forced employees world over to work remotely. How this has impacted the employer-employee relationship, the work life balance that was originally its purpose has taken a paradigm shift.

To Corporate Leaders, I would say the key to effective management in a remote working set up is to let go your overbearing nature and trust your employees. Be task driven than being driven by hours and understand that employees need their lunch and loo breaks, they could phase out the work instead of sticking to a rigid 9 to 5 and still achieve output. Micromanaging can frustrate you and demoralize staff who are already reaching their burn. Of course, there would be those slacking or manipulating the system and you would need to devise a mechanism to counter it, however, no system is fool proof and this one is certainly not!

I did a round of talks within my social circles and learnt that most employees (particularly female employees) do enjoy remote working. In the least, it spares the need to pick an outfit every day and at most, it has helped them to stay by their families and contribute to the organization simultaneously. Those with ageing parents reduce the risk of importing the virus home, especially from their commutes and work communities. Remote working parents are better able to juggle supervising their child’s virtual learning while tending to their tasks.

However, all is not glory, as much as remote working has helped with zero commute cost and time, working in hoodies and being close to family. It has also extended the work hours insanely, one friend described it as being like an “on call doctor 24/7”, the lack of social interactions has psychologically isolated those who are already physically distanced. The presence of family according to some, does not afford them the ability to focus on their work effectively. Explaining to your toddler why the working parents are home and why school is on a computer is perhaps much harder to stomach than waking up early, driving to work and getting back in the evening.

Striking the balance is a tough one, particularly when working remotely is no longer a choice. However, the need of the hour is mutual respect and integrity. Stakeholders need to be respectful of an employee's personal life and avoid roughing them at unearthly hours, likewise, employees need to inculcate integrity when working from home and discharge their duties diligently.