Is Work From Home a double-edged sword?
Many business owners have been facing a dilemma during this pandemic:
1. Will remote working for all employees reduce the needs for office space?
2. Does everyone have to work in an office?
3. Should a hybrid working model be adopted?
The pandemic has changed the corporate way of doing business. Working from home (WFH) was almost the rule of thumb under COVID, but can it be sustained for a prolonged period? Undoubtedly, this is questionable especially as not all roles within an organization can fit in. As an IoT company, flexible hours for R & D staff are acceptable, as they might actually enjoy, or even need, solitude to work on complicated solutions.
But as the old saying goes – “Every coin has two sides”, WFH has both pros and cons. But for a company like ours that places a heavy focus on R & D, WFH doesn’t really work after weighing the pros and cons.
Firstly, WFH can save commuting time, it may take up to 2 hours for workers to travel from one city to another within the country. But Hong Kong is simply too small, and everywhere is so accessible that transport is not a critical issue.
Secondly, take Google as an example, Google employees can choose to work from home if the roles and responsibilities do make small differences for WFH, and thus the impact is relatively small.
On the other hand, there are a few cons.
Firstly, it limits personal interaction, especially since information, idea exchange, and brainstorming are crucial among R & D or hardware staff.
Secondly, it slows down innovation and inspiration as zoom meetings are not effective for staff to speak out which will reduce productivity.
Thirdly, for businesses or roles that require more data privacy, WFH is not practical as data is prone to leakage outside offices.
Last but not least, work carried out in labs requires POC, trial and error on-site instead of doing it virtually, and it’s particularly true when hardware is involved, like PC motherboards, device testing, etc.
To conclude, it is a hot topic nowadays and certainly one we should be thinking about. But for a company like us that places a heavy focus on R & D, WFH doesn’t really work.
I would love to hear if you have other views on this topic.