With the freedom to work from home, are you bartering away your time?
Opinions on the benefits of WfH differ. Many find it beneficial. Some disagree. But everyone agrees on one thing: With WfH, you end up working for longer hours.
There is something about this WfH that makes you work longer.
When the Room becomes Zoom, does the employee productivity increase?
Does WfH increase productivity?
We do not have evidence to suggest employee productivity increases with WfH. Again, we do not have evidence to show companies are earning more with WfH. It implies WfH may not be more efficient. (It does not mean WfH is less efficient, either.)
Why do employees work for Longer during WfH?
- Hybrid Work and Home Environment: WfH is a hybrid of Work and Home environments. When you do company work from the bedroom, you are in neither your workspace nor the sleeping place. You are in both spaces at the same time. The line between work and home is blurred. You end up doing work and home activities simultaneously most of the time. That does not mean you are working more.
- WfH-friendly Technology: Digital technology allows you to perform office tasks from home easily. For example, these days, you get office emails right on your phone. Then, why do you wait till 9.00 am the next day to reply to an urgent email? Technology prompts you to work beyond the working hours.
- Work Dependencies: Often, you need input from others to complete your tasks. When working from the office, you could pass by the colleague's office or use the intercom to speed things up. However, with WfH, your teammates may tend to pace work with different priorities. So, you keep waiting and end up putting in more hours.
- Fear of the Unknown: We all fear uncertainty. Everyone is anxious in a pandemic. Some employees have concerns about their job security. They worry about what will happen to their colleagues and the company. In the process, they tend to put in more hours of work.
- Demonstrating Flexibility: You want to show flexibility in these tough times. You do not want to appear to be too rigid with hours of work. Result: Longer hours of work.
So, what is the solution?
Accept the New Normal: We must accept the reality of New Normal, where the office and homework are combined. So, do nothing.
(If you are the type who does not mix office work with home, the tips below will still apply.)
Plan & Prioritize: Plan and prioritize your work. Use tools such as Trello. Complete high priority tasks first. Then you need not worry about pending items while stopping the day's work.
Communicate: If you tend to work longer without intending, try to communicate better with yourself and your team. Use your phone to alert you when it's time to stop. Use Google Calendar to manage work dependencies with your team members.
Remember, even your team members are facing the challenge of endless working hours.