Or you still want them to beat the horrifying traffic everyday, leave their families in crises, and be physically present in the office all the time. I doubt if that adds to the productivity, so why not just get virtual and be flexible in our approach.
There was a time when your workplace comprised of only one thing: work! You signed in at a particular time and left at a given time. Walking in late was a major faux pas, taking a half day was like committing a grave sin and taking a day off on a weekday was the worst.
However, with the changing times, working from home is considered to be one of the best concepts that could have been implemented and the workplace has become more virtual than it was ever before. However, the question that arises is, is a virtual workplace better than a personal workspace?
If you come to think of it, your workplace has become more virtual than you would have imagined it to be. Organisations have started incorporating new trends like telecommuting, flexi-hours, work from home etc. to make their employees feel more comfortable with their work. While being physically present at work has always been considered to be a positive sign, experts say that employees are becoming more ‘virtual’ to the workplace.
Yes, the virtual workplace is a reality today, owing to the Internet and high-speed, instant access to messaging and information. More and more employees are working from home, as companies downsize the work area and cut overheads. Employees benefit by being able to avoid the daily commute to work and the time and trouble it takes to prepare for work, too.
Though still in a nascent stage, organisations are open to the idea of incorporating these methods to help their employees. Experts say that giving an employee his/her own space helps him/her to get comfortable with their job.
If an employee is working in his/her own surrounding either from home or is telecommuting, it helps him/her work in a relaxed environment with the family. Also, there are possibilities that an employee working from home could be more effective in his/her performance due to external distractions; it also allows the employers to make more space in an office for their new employees.
WORK AGAINST THE TIDE?
Though many HR managers and organisations are all in for the concept of a virtual workplace, many of them believe that an employee works better in an office space as it gives them more ‘contact’ with their work and their business clients. Experts concur that they prefer their employees working from office than telecommute and that it only works for a short period of time.
A virtual workplace may lead to a sense of isolation – especially from corporate culture and you have a danger of being forgotten when it comes to some of the juicy assignments. The lack of interaction with colleagues, not taking coffee breaks with them and not getting involved in office gossip can all become serious impediments to integrating with a team. The most obvious fall out of such a situation is that your ability to work with a team gets reduced and you are – critically – never invited to celebrate team achievements.
Apart from missing out on the corporate culture, HR people may also say an employee’s presence in an office helps him/her to clear any doubts he/she has with their immediate managers or other team members. Also, the physical presence of an employee in a workplace acts a psychological comfort of the employer/team head rather than a necessity and most of the employer’s say that they prefer having their employees in the office rather than have them sign in at work virtually.
While the debate of a virtual workplace and a personalized workplace is on, in the long run, neither one of them would be going out of fashion in the near future.
There will be an ‘in-between’ model of work that offers a balance between the two extremes of virtual workplace and formal office. Work will be farmed out (out-sourced) to clusters of people working from remote locations. I believe that ‘clustering’ is one model that works well – small teams or clusters typically tend to perform better and stay more motivated, they easily produce a sense of camaraderie and a cluster is in a flexible, self-correcting environment, so work does not suffer.
While it’s obvious what works for one industry might not work for another, both formats have been accepted. Employers feel comfortable allowing their employees to be non- existent from the work place as they feel that giving them their space is important for them to feel comfortable with their work. As for being present in the office, an employer loves nothing more than having his/her employee right under their nose where they can keep an eye on them.