Is working from home on the rise?

Gone are the days of you sitting in your office for relentless 8-10 hours, working your butt off to add value to your firm and more importantly to make yourself available to your boss. An exemplary topic for board-room discussions crossed my mind only recently, when I noticed many employees at my office opting for work-from-home mode on a regular basis. “Work-from-home” is now a world-wide parlance, a brouhaha, which promises to revolutionize the entire system. Though, the recent Yahoo snub and tough economic conditions have lofted many organizations in quandary whether or not to adopt this new trend but gusts in its favor are sturdy due to availability of so many office management tools today.

Ask yourself: how many hours do I spend sitting in my office cubicle daily. Personally, I spend more than 75% of my office hours warming my swivel chair. I agree, it depends a lot on the type of job/field you work in but still many of us spend most of our office time just doing that. Now, imagine how wonderful it would be for you to do the same work sitting in more comfort hours of your home. Feeling better? I bet you are.

Having said that, we must recognize its other side too. I see following questions glued to this very idea:

1) Employees’ role and approach towards working from home?
2) What % increment in productivity does it offers to an employee?
3) How often/frequent a firm should allow its employees this benefit?
4) At which hierarchical level, employees should be allowed to avail this opportunity?
5) Should employee remuneration be scaled-up or scaled-down?
6) How to evaluate employees for promotion?
7) Will it strengthens company-employee relationship?
8) Any increment in retirement age?

Unfortunately, I don’t have fool-proof suggestions, at this moment, to the above raised questions. Answers are not straightforward as it makes or breaks a firm’s fortune, if used widely and frequently. Moreover, before jumping onto productive and counter-productive aspects, its a must for any firm to evaluate every perspective financially because it pledges to cut company ‘s costs efficiently more than just making life easier for employees.

Now, lets study some of the benefits it has to offer both to firms and employees-

Employee’s perspective:

1) Will reduce consumption of hundreds of barrels of fuel daily.
2) Better time utilization due to decrement in commute hours.
3) Office employees can unshackle themselves from putting  thousands of dollars on their office wardrobe.
4) May increase employees’ productivity as they now be less burdened/frustrated by office dilly-dally.
5) Allow working parents (esp. working mothers) to live dual lives with vastly improved work-life balance.
6) Efficient energy management system for physically challenged and old aged employees.
7) Prevents unnecessary traffic accidents.

Firm’s perspective:

1) Can operate their business literally 24×7 with flexible working hours.
2) Can cut down fixed and variable costs by huge margins (like office bills, building costs, employees’ pay, travel costs).
3) Open door for investments in many less glamoured avenues like social sector.
4) Sharp improvement in ROT (return on time) by reduction in wasted pitch-ins.
5) Helps firms to reduce attrition rate.

work_at_home

Apart from all the good-good aspects, the environment office hours provides both in terms of knowledge and networking is tremendous. Replacing office by home is a absolutely rubbish claim and should not be on the table of any organization ever. Right balance has to be achieved to gain greater heights

Online Education

This HOT topic for college undergraduates is getting trendy also among young school students. The new online education cum fashion [atleast for some time, I would say] can be considered a revolutionary breakthrough for education sector. But the question is: Will it be as promising as it sound? I guess, no-one has the answer except future. But we, for sure, can discuss its pros to justify all the hype and cons to see if there are any holes to fill.

First, lets talk on PROS:

   1) May put some breaks on sky-high tuition costs of our leading world-class education centers.

   2) World’s top institutions’ [Harvard/ Stanford/ Berkeley, etc] course material/ video lectures would now be in everyone’s reach.

   3) Students don’t have to invest 4 years [which I consider too much, even if it is for high quality education] of their life in/on one institution and may focus more on hands-on industry learning. Hence, they will be more productive and sharper.

   4) College faculty and administration have to come up with better course structure to enhance their reputation and to attract students.

   5) Parents’ debt may decrease sharply thus helping them to invest in other important issues.

   6) “Educational” savings could be invested into other requirements to ensure a good quality life, which would also boost consumer market.

   7) It, for sure [in my view], will cause complete downfall of coaching cum business centers.

Now look at some CONS:

   1) Market entry in education sector may become explicitly tough, which in return may lead to monopoly by few institutions.

   2) Learnings about human relations/cultures will be very limited.

   3) Some health related issues can also arise as students will spend most of their time in front of a desktop, tablet, laptop, etc.

   4) May hit people who want to(are) seek(ing) teaching as a career.

   5) Parents will play two roles: a parent and a teacher. And this clearly suggest that they have to bear more pressure.

My Final Take: Education could never be a fun without classrooms.school kids

Often, it’s not about becoming a new person, but becoming the person you were meant to be, and already are, but don’t know how to be.
― Heath L. Buckmaster

P.S: This particular blog is inspired by HBR article on future education