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KT Debate: Work from home or office?

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Itching for a debate? Want a battle of the brains with a cross-section of UAE residents, who come from over 200 different nationalities? Here is your chance to speak out on issues that matter. Be part of ‘KT Debate,’ a weekly column where our readers are free to agree and disagree; where we promote diverse thinking and genuine disagreements. There is no winning or losing side. Here is where ideas converge and horizons widen. Here is where minds meet and communities evolve.

Amid the pandemic, remote working became the new normal. Working from home, once considered a luxury, was a necessity. The general perception is that by saving time on commute and office meetings, and a boss standing behind reminding you about deadlines, the stress level and work pressure will obviously be less in a remote environment. But does this add to productivity? While residents acknowledged that remote working, with undefined, extended working hours, adds to productivity, but in a twist, there are those who find that longer working hours add to virtual workplace stress and pressure leading to lack of concentration and focus.

FOR

Everything has its pros and cons, in the present scenario the pros outweigh the cons as far as you are able to maintain a work-life balance, which is a very important factor especially since the start of this testing phase of the pandemic. Working from home and virtually may increase one’s productivity because of the flexibility in the work arrangements. Also, right from the beginning of the day there are lower stress levels mainly because of the fact that you are not battling your way to office through the rush hour traffic.

Ikram Ulla Mohammed, Administration manager

Remote working is productive and eases work pressure. Attending virtual meetings and discussions were strange things to do initially but as I got going, it turned out to be simple, easy and professional. It avoids the time and efforts lost in travelling to the office or other sites. Moreover, people are punctual and targets are clearly communicated and agreed upon. For sure, working while relaxing from home is unconventional but it is really helping people of all genders to work based on their convenience. Also, virtual training, once considered a luxury, is now a normal process, and it is a boon too.

Mohammed Ilyas, QA specialist

While working from home, there are certain factors that we have to consider. At home, there may be external factors that can affect our productivity like noise in the surroundings or maybe from television. But, when we are in the comfort of our home, it can ease work pressure and stress because our boss is not around. So, it is all about an individual. Working remotely for most of us is new and we will take time to adapt but later on when we get used to it, it will lessen stress, work pressure and increase productivity.

Carmina Campomanes, Executive secretary

AGAINST

For sure remote working increases productivity as we tend to work for more hours than the actual agreed hours. But that’s where people have to be careful to set limits. With advancement of technology and virtual work culture, mainly during this pandemic, there is no end to work. This affects a person’s mental health. This can affect bachelors or singles, who work double shifts, extra hours in front of their laptops. But in the long-term, they will face burnout and other health issues. Such long hours of work will add to stress, lack of focus and concentration.

Vinoy Varkey, Private sector firm

The pandemic has redefined the way we work. Virtual working is fine but I do feel that the office is the best place from where to work. It is all better organised, systematic and you can meet people personally, which lessens stress. Moreover, when you are working virtually, you feel a need to be ‘always on’. You will always find someone online and you will be obliged to stay on. While virtual working can be a stop-gap arrangement but it will affect productivity when it is turned into a new system. I am unsure how much stress and work pressure gets affected when you work from home.

Shaolin John, Design engineer

It’s time there is awareness created about working from home. Any company will love to see their employees being always online and working. But after initial weeks and months when this fad of virtual working ends, we will realise that people tend to work for more hours than we used to do while in office. Many people will put longer working hours to meet targets. This will in long run add to stress levels and in turn hamper productivity. I feel employees need to find a right balance and employers must set boundaries.

Shajahan Nawabjan, QHSE global manager

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