Work from Home (WFH) may not be a one-size-fits-all solution in the long run for the vitality of businesses

As Malaysia and most of the world goes through an unprecedented wave of forced work from home (WFH) policies, so have companies found themselves in the predicament of rushing to implement new ways of working. This, along with the required technologies and policies to keep teams together, decisions made and companies running are proving a challenging task for any company.

For the uninitiated, work from home is a novelty as the majority of businesses would not have this as an extensive option for employees, unless you are a company with a lean team on site, or by nature in a more startup/flexible work environment.

Of course, work from home has its advantages, but for companies running with a mid to large sized workforce, long periods of Work from Home will end up being counterproductive due to a number of reasons:

1) It creates a distance among colleagues

Having an office provides a space for productive work to occur and for people to congregate. Where there is a space outside of your home setting and social areas, this allows you to be at your most productive and be able to brainstorm with others in your team to get a job done.

Teleconferencing calls do work, but there is nothing that replaces a face to face meeting with your team-mate. This is where the best ideas are created and the nuances occur, that cannot be captured on video.

2) You lose the company culture

Company culture is generally acknowledged to be defined as being “values and behaviours that contribute to the unique social and psychological environment of business”. Company culture is important if a company is to create loyalty and a sense of identity for staff to feel like they are part of a group which is out to achieve a goal. The longer people are apart, the more a company culture is diluted which is the ultimate loss.

3) Impacts on productivity

Working from home also assumes that the setup required to be able to work from home exists (fast internet, an office space, storage for documents). Given the range of network coverage in Malaysia, this can be a challenging activity to ensure that all staff have consistent and good internet coverage to execute on something as basic as a skype/google/zoom call.

Imagine a situation where your team just cannot be productive because of technology and network issues at home. Unfortunately, there is no IT department to call in this scenario. For those who have children at home during this time too, the separation between work and home life is ever more blurred and you may find yourself having to juggle multiple tasks at the same time through the day.

Let’s face it. Normal may never be the same as before after MCO is lifted.

Laurence Todd, director of the Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs, told in an interview that it would be impossible to return to “complete freedom” even after the order ends. We will still need to consider new measures and precautions to ensure a smooth transition back to “normal” once MCO is lifted.

What if the MCO is lifted and businesses are allowed to operate back in the office? This does not mean that the virus is going to go away in the next six months. Without careful precautions and constant practice of social distancing, we may risk another huge wave of COVID-19. We must learn the expensive lesson of our inattention and negligence which allowed the second wave of the COVID-19 outbreak prior to MCO, reports MalaysiaKini

Therefore, there is still an inherent risk of having your whole organisation back together in ‘one building’, while working in fear of a mass-exposure to COVID-19.

It is important to have a post MCO planning for your company to keep your business running in a risk-managed environment.

Business continuity: keep your team safe in order to keep your business running

So what can companies do coming out of this MCO period?

a) Consider splitting your team up between your existing office and an alternate work location.

b) Look for an alternate space provider who is agile and able to accommodate requirements quickly whether it is for a scale up or scale down basis, 1 month or 6 months in duration.

c) Ensure that the space provider is able to provide all the required space necessities for an office – internet, pantry, meeting rooms.

d) A reliable partner who can manage your changing situation and represent your brand and ethos to your own employees.

e) Bonus is of course, having a community and team in an inspiring environment where you can feel your most productive.

Read more: why businesses are relooking into their workplace arrangement.

Learn more about WORQ’s Business Continuity Plan Services by contacting our excellent enterprise consultant, Christina Chong at +6012 656 0478 for a FREE CONSULTATION on how to plan for your CONTINUITY AND DISASTER RELIEF contingencies.

Remember, if you fail to plan, you plan to fail.

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