Analysing the effect of work from home and employee productivity after the COVID 19 outbreak

Published: 2023/07/06 Number of words: 2233


The sudden outbreak of the life-wrenching virus has turned human existence upside down. Throughout the world, the COVID 19 pandemic has caused chaos and distress. The virus has prompted questions about the survival of mankind. Aside from health-related impacts, the virus has affected economic, political, and certainty-related aspects. Additionally, businesses are struggling to cope with the changes because they have disrupted operations on a large scale. Hence, employers and employees are both left with many questions concerning the unfortunate situation. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, organisations are rapidly changing their work habits. Moreover, a large group of people have remained in their homes to avoid the disease or because of shelter-in-place orders (Brynjolfsson et al., 2020). Many businesses have shut down all operations, and many have taken drastic measures to revamp their internal and external functioning. Since the emergence of new regulations and guidelines worldwide, the workforce has experienced a rapid shift from office to remote work. With new working paradigms, companies have indeed found it challenging to manage the workforce. Also, flexibility is an increasingly common work practice in the modern workplace.

New safety measures were introduced to prevent the spread of the virus has affected the usual modes of communication and task delegation at the workplace to decrease human interaction. The prohibition of working in groups was essential for health and safety purposes, but it poses a threat to working productivity. Consequently, organisations have adopted new approaches, such as work from home, to support flexible working and maintain business operations. Many organisations considered positive outcomes on working from home with long term benefits to the organisations. Although, many employees have faced difficulties in adopting the work from home culture and balancing work and personal life. As a diverse effect, people may take flexibility for granted that can impact work productivity. This paper will discuss the effects of the COVID 19 pandemic in working culture and the concept of work from home practice. Further, it will focus on the relationship between the work from home approach and employee productivity. At last, the investigation of positive and negative outcomes of working from home on the employee productivity.

COVID 19 Pandemic and Work from Home: 

Globally, the number of people infected by the virus has increased rapidly since the outbreak began. There has been a widespread lockdown, in which all public places, schools, and offices must shut down. To prevent the spread of the virus, the government-controlled all kinds of activities where people could gather. Hence, COVID 19 has a huge impact on the global economy which was unexpected and tragic. The impact of COVID 19 lies far beyond the increase in infected people and death. The inconvenience by the measures as lockdown has more impact on businesses, employability, financial survival, and mental health. As a result, the virus outbreak has increased a lot of pressure on firms to take immediate action for survival in the market. Thus, many firms tend to cut down on wages, benefits, and support. Consequently, many companies shut down their entire operations, while others that provide necessities keep them running under strict regulations, and most firms transit to remote working. In contrast, neither companies nor employees were prepared for the dynamics of remote work. However, the remote working method was essential for organisations to prevent the virus from spreading and ensure safety.

The term work from home defines as any employment-related work performed at home regardless of whether the individual is performing the work as an employee of an organisation or is self-employed (Venkatesh and Vitalari, 1992). In general, the concept of work from home is easy to understand and believed to be efficient and productive. As well, many organisations adopted the work from home concept long before COVID 19 emerged. A home-based work method is designed to provide flexibility for workers and opportunities for employment for people who are unable to leave their homes. Working from home is a way of working outside of physical space, enabled by technology that reduces commuting time and improves efficiency. Work from home offers various benefits to employees including flexibility, autonomy, and the comfort of working in your own space (O’Hara, 2014).

As a result of the COVID 19 consequences, businesses have realised the benefits of work from home, so many firms decided to continue to use this method post-reopening. Organisations like Facebook, Google, Microsoft and Amazon have extended their work from home policy and even Twitter just announced that it is planning to have its employees work remotely permanently (Ghosh, 2020). In addition, working from home provides less supervision and more flexibility for employees, resulting in a greater sense of independence and self-determination. Equally, it allows businesses to cut down on costs like electricity, office supplies, and stationary. As well, it aids in attracting and retaining a skilled and trained workforce in the firm without location barriers. In the future, work from home will open an expanded range of employment possibilities, including both permanent jobs, part-time, and freelance options.

Relationship between Work from Home and Employee Productivity: 

Productivity describes an outcome of the performance – the quantity of output that results from performance behaviours, external contextual and opportunity factors (Blumberg and Pringle, 1982; Schmidt and Hunter, 1983; Zhang et al., 2020). Employee productivity relies on the time given by an individual to perform a delegated task with a desirable outcome. Hence, employee’s productivity has a direct connection with a firms overall performance associated with financial and non-financial growth. Moreover, most businesses aim to achieve the highest employee’s productivity that is beneficial for both employee and firm. Thus, organisations monitor ongoing working hours and the number of activities performed by employees to measure productivity. However, on another note, COVID 19 has resulted in the modernisation of many organisations. As a result of the sudden implication of social distancing, firms need to start remote work that increases the use of technology and automation to run administrative operations. Such modern work tactics aids in fewer conflicts and a better work environment.

In general, organisations are bound to direct supervision for employee’s performance, so it is challenging for businesses to supervise employees while working from home. However, organisations can improve employee productivity by motivating their employees to develop a knowledge-sharing plan, use the right communication channel, maintain social interaction and measure productivity by the quality of work, not hours (Ludema and Johnson, 2020). Firms have been developing new plans and strategies such as that boosts employee’s productivity and support working from home during this uncertain period. Consequently, to maintain productivity standards, firms will set individual goals that are easy to measure. While employees are satisfied with the organisation tends to produce better productivity. Hence, during and after the COVID 19 pandemic, it was also challenging for businesses to maintain employee satisfaction with facing an economic downfall themself. In contrast, productivity levels of firms that have treated employees fairly both before and after the pandemic have remained stable.

Impact of work from home on employee productivity: 

Positive Impact: 

To begin with, the ongoing threat of the COVID 19 virus, work from home method tends to most effective practice to secure the health and safety of employees and their families. Flexibility and agility are key benefits of working from home that helps employees to balance work life and support personal responsibilities. Moreover, home working offers fewer interruptions and reduce commuting time, less stress and increase productivity. Due to the pandemic, many companies reduce their workforce, thus leading to a spike in the unemployment rate. Additionally, companies offering work from home employment benefits help employees maintain financial stability, develop strong relationships, and improve employee confidence that contributes to job satisfaction. Thus, job satisfaction, less stress and better job performance are factors that influence employee’s productivity. Technological advancements such as high-speed internet, digital media, social media, applications such as zoom, and one drive create a working platform that provides an effective communication platform between firm and employee.

Negative Impact:

Working in virtual environments has left employees feeling socially and professionally isolated because the absence of physical presence and interpersonal relationships leads to a lower feeling of belongingness, trust, and companionship. Interaction with co-workers generates a better understanding and work culture that motivates employees. Whereas working from home makes an employee feel lonely that diminish confidence, determination and self-esteem. Furthermore, many organisations need to provide necessary skills and training to prepare employees with the new remote working framework. Because employees lack any prior experience with the virtual working environment and job demands creates stress and reduces the effectiveness of their performance. Besides, employees might take advantage of less supervision and get involved in private commitments during working hours that affect productivity. As a result, it raises the question of uncertainty and reliability for employers to assess the quality of work produced by employees while working from home. Consequently, remote working decreases the effectiveness of teamwork at the workplace.


There is no doubt that the COVID 19 pandemic will leave a permanent impact on organisations operational framework. To achieve better outcomes through remote working, companies may invest more in technology. COVID 19 has encouraged many businesses to consider working remotely rather than using an office-based system. Remote working will, in general, lead to a positive experience both for employees and the company in the long run. Additionally, maintaining effective communication in the organization can be enhanced by balancing office and home-based working systems. Furthermore, working from home has been shown to increase employee productivity and engagement after the COVID-19 pandemic. In order to increase the effectiveness of remote work programs, it may be practical to promote autonomy and self-leadership that may increase co-worker engagement. While working from home benefits better work-life integration and job fulfilment, on the other hand, many business delegates impose a threat on the development of infrastructure, physical management in the organisational sector. In general, despite some drawbacks, virtualization of the work pattern will open up opportunities for global collaboration, improvements in technological knowledge, and advancements in digital work practices.


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