Challenges Facing Work From Home  

By Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye
The new acronym on the block, WFH (Work From Home) is a boon for some and a bane for others.
This has been the norm now for about 12 months for some, intermittently for others and a new norm for all.
The benefits accrue both to the employer and to the employee,  in the public service and in the private sector.
For the employer, there will be substantial cost-saving, especially in terms of the usage of electricity, provision of workspace, savings on overheads, overtime and rentals.
For the employee, there will also be money saving as a result of not having to commute to and from the workplace, and having meals outside.
WFH also usually means one can start and end the day as one chooses, as long as work is completed with strong outcomes.  This work schedule can also be helpful when it comes to attending to the needs of the family.
This will also reduce stress levels, leading to better health and consequently to savings in medical bills.
But not all employees have the same advantages.  While some have a proper work space and facilities at home, there are those who have to resort to working from the cramped living or dining rooms, and have to contend with unstable access to work tools like the Internet.
Burnout is also a possibility, as a result of not having work colleagues share some of the workload.
For both groups, they miss the office interaction, the personal discussion, the friendly banter and all other opportunities to vent frustrations and swop real-life stories that are a catharsis for stressed souls.
And therefore, the stress levels increase, leading to mental and physical health problems.
To incentivize this group of employees, it will help if some relief is given for the workers in terms of enhancing their workspace and providing them with for proper ergonomic furniture.
It is hoped that employers would consider developing a work place policy to provide clear guidelines and address the challenges.
Workers should regularly communicate to their bosses regarding their challenges and seek guidelines for continuing to work from home.
Tax relief can also be considered for employers who provide more suitable equipment and technology  for their employees that would improve their WFH experience.
It is reasonable to expect that WFH will be the new norm, even after the Covid-19 curve has been flattened or a new vaccine made available.
The new norm requires new approaches and innovations that will enhance productivity, and improve the quality of life.
Chairman Alliance for Safe Community

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