WFH virtually easier this time around


Siti Hajar Mahmud, 45, (right) helps her children Syifa Qaisarah Mohd Sham, 13, and Ahmad Deedat Mohd Sham, 10, with their school work while she attends to work matters from home at their house in Shah Alam. - FAIHAN GHANI/The Star

PETALING JAYA: With Selangor and Kuala Lumpur under movement control order again, it is back to the home office for many workers in the Klang Valley and this time around, most find it easier.

Personal assistant and mother of three, Siti Hajar Mahmud, said she does it while monitoring her school-going children aged between 10 and 15.

“It took about a month to get used to working and learning from home the first time around.

“We have also upgraded some equipment, ” said the 45-year-old, adding that she also learnt how to juggle between fulfilling her boss’ requests while monitoring her children.

During the first MCO, Siti Hajar said she relied on mobile data as she and her children shared laptops and a smartphone.

She postponed buying new equipment as she did not think WFH would continue.

“I have since invested in newer hardware and fixed Internet with WiFi at home, ” she said.

Siti Hajar added that she overcame the initial challenges of WFH by telling herself things would get easier.

However, while she has gotten the hang of WFH, she does miss going to the office and is one of those who enjoy the work commute.“I miss driving and singing in the car and also preparing for work.

“Now I just look at my tudung and shoes and wonder when I’ll be able to dress up again, ” she said.

Engineer Aaron Camoens, 37, said WFH allowed him to watch his baby boy grow up, something he did not fully get to do with his now four-year-old daughter.

“So while I am at home, I get to see both of them grow every day, ” he said, adding that he spent about RM5,000 to create a home office at his condominium to continue working from home.

Camoens said it turned out to be a good investment as his employer fully embraced remote working when the company decided to end the lease on a co-working space after a few Covid-19 cases broke out there.

However, he said the downside of WFH was the blurred lines between work and home life as he feels that employers expect their workers to contribute more.

Fellow engineer Ahmad Kadafi Muhamad, 37, shared the same sentiment saying that at the office, bosses would have a better idea of what was on everyone’s plate and were more reassured of tasks being completed.

“WFH has its perks but it felt like I was working around the clock and even had to take calls at night, so I was actually quite relieved to be back in the office even during MCO, ” said Kadafi who works in the oil and gas sector.

Financial analyst Daniel Lee said while he has gotten used to work from home, some tasks are meant to be done in the office.

“I’m alright with WFH because that means I don’t have to commute but it definitely made discussions with my colleagues a challenge.

“I think this is best done in person rather than virtually, ” he said.

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