Higher productivity for some who work from home


  • Nation
  • Monday, 06 Jul 2020

Pros and cons: Jah Syazwani (left), Yong (middle) and Chang shared their opinions on the viability of working from home as well as areas for improvement.

PETALING JAYA: As the recovery movement control order (MCO) has allowed more people to return to work, employees are hoping for more flexible work arrangements, even as some companies are reporting increased productivity from teleworking.

CEO of a B2B e-commerce company Thinesh Kumar Asogan said he allowed his employees to work three days a week from home and two days at the office.

“I think it is viable to work from home from an efficiency standpoint, but in terms of morale and team spirit perspective, we need the office,” he said.

“During the three months of the MCO, our evaluation on the employee’s delivery found that overall work efficiency had increased, even for me.

“Most of my job involves meetings. On a normal day, in the time I take to commute and complete three meetings a day, I could actually do 10 during the MCO.

“I got a lot more done, and I’m sure everyone else in the company experienced the same,” said Thinesh, who added that revenue actually shot up “quite handsomely” during the MCO.

However, he noticed that towards the later stages of the MCO, the effectiveness of communication and morale among his employees were dropping.

“When videoconferencing, the passing of information may not be as accurate.

“As social beings, we want to be at the same place, and we want to see each other work together. So we decided to meet at the office twice a week to achieve this,” he said, while acknowledging that it was impossible to close deals with new clients when working remotely.

Content review analyst Jah Syazwani Jasni said she felt more inclined to continue working from home as she has a healthier work-life balance when she does not waste time commuting.

Syazwani, 29, said productivity in her team rose during the MCO, based on the amount of work they were able to complete in a day.

“However, when working from home, we tend to face communication problems when having to communicate with the team only via Internet,” she said.

Marketing manager Yong Yu Eng, 27, said she struggled while working from home because she had only just started work with the company and needed to learn the work processes.

“I started my new job during the MCO period and it was hard for me to understand the company’s organisation structure, communicate with the project manager, and get approvals.

“I still think it is viable for me and the organisation to work remotely as our campaigns have been doing well, but a lot more communication is needed to ensure everyone understands exactly what is needed,” she said.

Quality assurance engineer Esther Chang Swee Ai also believes in remote working.

“It was my first time having to report for duty remotely and being assigned tasks via teleconferencing, but I managed to get them done efficiently as time is saved when I don’t have to face traffic jams and the long commute,” said Chang, who added that delivering work efficiently is more important.

However, those working in the retail sector, such as Nicole Quek, said the MCO has drastically affected her as she had to take a 40% pay cut.

“All the stores were closed, and we still received full salary in the first and second phases of the MCO. But our salary was slashed during the third phase. This may continue for three months,” she said.

“Initially, when everyone had to stay home, I could still save by having home-cooked meals.

“But when stores reopened, I have to spend more and also meet my monthly commitments, so that’s when I felt the brunt of the pay cut,” she said.

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