Recently, Vyas and Butakhieo conducted an exploratory study on the impact of working from home (WFH) during COVID-19 on work and life domains in Hong Kong. As early as January 2020, the disease has wreaked havoc on public health and the lives of its residents.
The private sectors and government offices resorted to implementing remote work arrangements to ensure service continuity and employee safety. The research explored how two factors affected the employees to work from home–organizational and individual family factors. “Examples include but are not limited to employers supporting employees’ demands while working from home, cost of facilities related to WFH, training in the use of technology, as well as organizational communication.” (Vyas and Butakhieo, 2021).
On the other hand, previous studies show that individual and family factors influenced work from home. (Baker, Avery, and Crawford, 2007) These include factors like “self-discipline, self-motivation, ability to work independently, tenacity, self-organization, self-confidence, time management skills, computer literacy knowledge.” (Baruch, 2000) A separate analysis revealed that the length of time a person spent in teleworking impacts work-family conflict (Solis, 2016).
The researchers conducted a SWOT analysis which compared the strong and weak points of working in the office and working from home. They mentioned that the pandemic allowed Hong Kong to experience working from home as an available option for workers. Moreover, allowing work from home arrangement in private institutions is applauded.
“Hand in hand with the effectiveness of the WFH practices, the opinion of the people WFH is essential to consider. Looking at the opinions received in the early days of the practice, an overwhelming majority of opinions were positive.” (Vyas and Butakhieo, 2021) The researchers concluded that work from home is discouraged as the sole work arrangement, pandemic or not. Employers must ensure the availability of different options to uphold employees’ organizational, personal and family well-being.
I am in favor of the findings and conclusion of the researchers. As a human resources professional, I experienced varied opinions and preferences in working arrangements across employees. Certain factors like age, marital status, job functions, office proximity, and internet connectivity come into play in their work arrangement preferences.
I realized that human resources would play a vital role in navigating those factors when crafting and implementing a remote work policy. We should not be rigid in developing these policies because every employee faces different situations at home and work. We must complement their work arrangement with their home situation so that work and personal life will achieve harmony.
Furthermore, organizations must focus on health, safety and continuous employee engagement rather than effectiveness, efficiency and productivity. The organization’s goal now is not only to keep the company running financially but also ensure that the needs of all stakeholders, including employees, are addressed. Now more than ever, we can prove that the strongest organizations are those that take care of their employees.
Our new flexible working arrangement policy was approved by our management. It states that it is the policy of the organization to provide the best value of the workplace to the employees regardless of the space it occupies. We can amalgamate a culture of trust that we believe that they can be as productive as possible regardless of where they are. Also, we provide different sets of tools for employees working purely onsite, purely from home, and in hybrid arrangements.
In conclusion, COVID-19 became a catalyst for our organization to institute a more people-centric working arrangement policy for our employees. It helped the management understand that regardless of where an employee works, ensuring their safety and being flexible in providing their preferred arrangement leads to better engagement and productivity.
The author is an MBA student at the Ramon V. del Rosario College of Business, DLSU. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The views expressed above are the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official position of DLSU, its faculty, and its administrators.