WFH…WTF!

WFH ..WTF

Work from Home… the most used word in the past 2 years. Just like everything, even WFH is now getting polarized reactions, some love it and some absolutely hate it !

Recently Malcolm Gladwell got caught in this fiery debate for his comments (Here it is in case u missed it (1:19:02)) on people losing their identity by sitting on their bed and working in pajamas.

We all have a right to our view on something that is as personal as the option of WFH however I do feel as we think about this it’s going to be tough to generalize this across the board. At the risk of being caught in this controversy I am going to add in my two bits on this topic.

Here is a perspective, did the Great Resignation only happen because the pandemic actually gave people time to evaluate their lives and some realized that they would like to opt out of the rat race and not be a rat any more, or did we as leaders loose our emotional connect with our teams, who we were used to being with for endless hours every week which led to them feeling tired in the race and opting out with other options.

Sitting in Zoom calls and Google meets can only create as much of a connect and in my view it will never replace the in person meetings. The virtual world and the in person world will always have a divide. It’s still easy to continue an established relationship in the virtual world, but it is tough to create new connections with empathy over just scheduled calls on the various platforms.

In my personal opinion we do need to get people back to office. It may not be for 100% of the time but certainly needs to be for a considerable amount in the week.

This is one, required to build the culture of the organization and two, it’s respectful to the roles that cannot be done sitting at home and three, it helps to drive business objectives in a cohesive and collaborative manner.

I do understand the convenience of working from home. Certainly it helps to manage family time and save on time and energy of travel to office. I also do know of people who do not have the space to work at home and have really struggled with setting up their space or managing the added burden of everyone being at home all day. We are still not talking about longer work hours due to being available round the clock.

Also WFH does create a certain amount of detachment. I am sure we have all witnessed the many eye rolls, I lost my connection, I don’t have internet, I am unable to connect excuses in that past months. Some of these excuses have been driven by slackening behavior and others by detached employees.

While I know we all have different motivations to work. For some of us work is sanity and we will work no matter what, for others work is a means to an end and we would only do what’s minimum required to get to the paycheck. Neither of this is right or wrong however considering that work needs to deliver on business objectives and also create a positive impact on our social relationships I feel we have to find balance.

As we now create a new norm, maybe we need to define the new rules at work too. These would require rethinking the hours we work, the infrastructure we need and the best way to integrate flexibility and business commitments.

Finally, I am just going to leave you with this quote by Heather Shuck “You will never feel truly satisfied by work until you are satisfied by life”. WFH or WFO the real thing to address here is your relationship with work !

 

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