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Work from home: A tough tradeoff between costs and benefits

Work from home: A tough tradeoff between costs and benefits

Given the ever-prolonging lockdown and unknown future of the corona crisis, companies are looking for ways to get their employees to work remotely. Drawing from other countries, some companies had already started the practice of working from home before the country went into a lockdown. APEX talked to a few people who saw the ‘work from home’ culture as either largely good or largely bad.

Largely good

Extra time for reading, meditation

Yogina Shakya, senior talent officer, CloudFactory

I had started working from home a week before the lockdown. I already had two years of experience in this during my master’s studies. So I didn’t have a hard time adjusting.

The best thing about working from home is that it saves commute time. And keeps you from the terrible traffic and pollution. Now, you avoid all those and work freely. Who would not feel good about it? You can use that extra time to read or watch something good, or just stretch. It allows me time to meditate or to do a quick cardio. Working from home also means you get homemade healthy meals.

Boosting collaboration

Saurav Thapa Shrestha, general secretary, YUWA

I love working from home, having video calls with my colleagues, and collaborating on different ideas. Many people are working together via different online platforms such as Google products, Slack, Notion, ClickUp, and the like. It helps keep track of productivity and project activities. There are video conferencing tools such as Zoom, Skype, and Google Meet to help maintain good work relations with everyone.

Comfy pajamas and frequent breaks

Manshi Chand, trainee writer, Top Nepal International

What would be better than getting paid during the lockdown? My expenses are zero and I can work when I want to, wearing comfy pajamas and taking a break whenever I want—and I still get the work done. The luxury is unbeatable.

Amazing flexibly

Ishwari Bhattarai, sociologist

People working from home have flexibility. They can avoid long and cumbersome travel to office. I expect Online and virtual communications will replace face-to-face communications if the lockdown is given continuity for the foreseeable future. Rapid expansion of technology will facilitate it. Many middle and upper class people have access to smartphones, laptops, and the internet. People can spend more time with their families as well as work flexibly.

Largely bad

Could increase stress and anxiety

Saurav Thapa Shrestha, general secretary, YUWA

Whether we are employees or employers, ‘work from home’ functions only if there is honesty, discipline, and willingness to work. Without these, you don’t get measurable results.

People need to have self-discipline while working from home, as our minds get diverted easily. Those who have a habit of working from office will initially find it difficult, as they might feel lonely and less confident. This might increase stress and anxiety.

Internet connection a major challenge

Sudip Dhungana, senior HR officer at MAW Earthmovers (JCB Nepal)

As a human resources officer, I need to consider many things. Engaging everyone is challenging. Almost all organizations are closed and businesses have been affected, and HR professionals are concerned about timely payment of staff salaries.

While working from home, team members can easily make excuses like lack of electricity and patchy internet. I think stable internet connection is most important for effectively working from home. But often the connection is slow as many people are spending their time online during the lockdown. Due to poor the connection, I have to buy data packs to complete my work.

Not our culture

Pooja Shrestha, Grande International Hospital

Technology is only in its infancy in Nepal. We have only just been introduced to stuffs like e-banking and online shopping. There is only so much you can get done from home. We need a cultural change as we are more used to working in office, not home. Also, not everyone has the luxury of working from home.

Confined to comfort zone

Manshi Chand, trainee writer, Top Nepal International

Despite the luxury of working from home, I would still like go to an actual office to work. You can never progress by being confined to your comfort zone.

Limits human interaction

Ishwari Bhattarai, sociologist

Virtual interactions have limits. Access to the internet may be concentrated in urban settings. Also, the trend of online shopping would eventually reduce interaction among diverse sets of people. They would be confined to their own networks, which may increase alienation. New kinds of social and psychological problems might emerge as a result.