Why this CEO is against work-from-home, feels it stunts career growth and leads to isolation - Economic Times

Summary

Three years into the pandemic, a lot has changed. The outbreak of Covid-19 has forever transformed the way people conduct their work. The nature of businesses, jobs, and professions has all undergone a major overhaul. While some changes have been welcomed, some barely made an impact. And, when it comes to business operations and jobs, the shift towards flexible working or work-from-home has affected operations in many different ways.Even before the pandemic, companies were offering WFH and flexible hours. However, considering the rapid transmission of the virus and social distancing norms, many companies that were opposed to the concept embraced WFH. Now, that number of Covid-19 cases has abated, and many organisations around the world are gradually moving towards working from the office.This gradual shift has opened up a whole new debate surrounding WFH, and why it cannot be a permanent solution for companies. There have been many who have been advocating the merits of permanent WFH, however, some are conscious to tread the path.Amid the raging debate surrounding permanent WFH, Australian entrepreneur, Adam Schwab , who runs a travel company differs from the popularly held beliefs about WFH. In an article for the Australian media portal, Financial Review , Schwab has offered divergent views on WFH.According to Schwab, just because people love staying in comfy clothes and interacting on Zoom doesn’t make it a net positive. He illustrated the point by saying that his kids love watching shows on their iPad and eating chocolate, however, that doesn't mean he would allow them to do it every day.Schwab said that finishing work at 4:30 pm and watching Netflix is a great idea, however, various research shows that employees working from home are more prone to increased loneliness, isolation, and they also struggle to detach themselves from work. The CEO cited a study by American Psychiatric Association that stated that most workers who opt for WFH experience negative mental health effects. The impact of this is likely to be more pronounced on those living alone.According to Schwab, not only mental health but also the ability to progress in one’s career is dramatically impacted while working from home. He said that the best way to get a promotion is to be close to the person who is responsible for promoting the individual. Moreover, WFH also impacts the learning ability of younger team members and they lose the chance to display their abilities. Schwab said that WFH is ideal for ‘task fillers’, people who are content in their role and do not have the drive to create value or display initiative. Schwab said that WFH robs younger team members of the growth possibilities.It is not really a win-win situation. Schwab warns how businesses can use WFH as the ‘bait and switch’. He explained that if the job can be performed from Brighton or Chatswood it can also be done from Bengaluru for a lot cheaper. Employers who are seeking to reduce costs might as well outsource the work to other nations. Schwab said that this trend has already started happening in Australian organisations.For businesses, WFH is bad as it loses the ability to collaborate and create. Employees will no longer be able to be inspired by the vitality, zeal and ideas of their colleagues. According to Schwab, when employees become ‘task fillers’ organisations cease to create and evolve. WFH commoditises the workforce as a software developer or accountant working from home is more likely to accept another lucrative offer. Those working from home may no longer have any intrinsic connection to their employer.

Three years into the pandemic, a lot has changed. The outbreak of Covid-19 has forever transformed the way people conduct their work. The nature of businesses, jobs, and professions has all undergone a major overhaul. While some changes have been welcomed, some barely made an impact. And, when it comes to business operations and jobs, the shift towards flexible working or work-from-home has affected operations in many different ways.Even before the pandemic, companies were offering WFH and flexible hours. However, considering the rapid transmission of the virus and social distancing norms, many companies that were opposed to the concept embraced WFH. Now, that number of Covid-19 cases has abated, and many organisations around the world are gradually moving towards working from the office.This gradual shift has opened up a whole new debate surrounding WFH, and why it cannot be a permanent solution for companies. There have been many who have been advocating the merits of permanent WFH, however, some are conscious to tread the path.Amid the raging debate surrounding permanent WFH, Australian entrepreneur, Adam Schwab , who runs a travel company differs from the popularly held beliefs about WFH. In an article for the Australian media portal, Financial Review , Schwab has offered divergent views on WFH.According to Schwab, just because people love staying in comfy clothes and interacting on Zoom doesn’t make it a net positive. He illustrated the point by saying that his kids love watching shows on their iPad and eating chocolate, however, that doesn't mean he would allow them to do it every day.Schwab said that finishing work at 4:30 pm and watching Netflix is a great idea, however, various research shows that employees working from home are more prone to increased loneliness, isolation, and they also struggle to detach themselves from work. The CEO cited a study by American Psychiatric Association that stated that most workers who opt for WFH experience negative mental health effects. The impact of this is likely to be more pronounced on those living alone.According to Schwab, not only mental health but also the ability to progress in one’s career is dramatically impacted while working from home. He said that the best way to get a promotion is to be close to the person who is responsible for promoting the individual. Moreover, WFH also impacts the learning ability of younger team members and they lose the chance to display their abilities. Schwab said that WFH is ideal for ‘task fillers’, people who are content in their role and do not have the drive to create value or display initiative. Schwab said that WFH robs younger team members of the growth possibilities.It is not really a win-win situation. Schwab warns how businesses can use WFH as the ‘bait and switch’. He explained that if the job can be performed from Brighton or Chatswood it can also be done from Bengaluru for a lot cheaper. Employers who are seeking to reduce costs might as well outsource the work to other nations. Schwab said that this trend has already started happening in Australian organisations.For businesses, WFH is bad as it loses the ability to collaborate and create. Employees will no longer be able to be inspired by the vitality, zeal and ideas of their colleagues. According to Schwab, when employees become ‘task fillers’ organisations cease to create and evolve. WFH commoditises the workforce as a software developer or accountant working from home is more likely to accept another lucrative offer. Those working from home may no longer have any intrinsic connection to their employer.

Why this CEO is against work-from-home, feels it stunts career growth and leads to isolation - Economic Times
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