Home office: Good and Useful as it seems?

home office hr human resources

“As much as we complain about other people, there is nothing worse for mental health than a social desert.”
― Charles Montgomery

Home office and flexible work environment have really gotten the spotlight over the last couple of years. The Covid situation is what sparked its inception because of the obvious reasons and it sort of had a point up until when it began to sprout true colors akin to just another buzzword. While the home office option certanily offers some benefits to employees, recent studies and comms in the space beg to differ. This particular topic also brought more room to a variety of different topics such as managing employees remotely, assessing performance management remotely, managing wellbeing of the employee team and many more. Let’s try and dive into some of the arguments which are heavily against it.

Becoming the buzzword

What truly motivated me to write about this topic was the post that the World Economic Forum made on LinkedIn. The post was about an author called Julia Hobsbawm who seemingly writes a lot about the future of work and how the work as a whole will shift into the sphere in which there will be no workplace. This particular post was about her latest project called „Nowhere office“. As the name implies, Julia thinks and advocates for a work which will be entirely remotely based and as such propagates all the benefits of a remote work without addressing its issues in the long run. One look into the comment section of that post and you can see a lot of reasonable arguments against that agenda, such as ignoring the blue-collar section of the workforce. But what exactly is the issue with remote work in the long run?

Buying blind

Not what it seems

Monster.com, one of the most popular job portals in the world conducted a massive poll back in 2020 with over 1200 respondents. The results were not what many expected, in my opinion, with the results about the remote work being more in the negative light than positive. As the burnout is heavily stigmatized because of its prevalence in the workplace, the poll revealed that majority of the respondents (69%) reported experiencing burnout while working from home. I wonder what Julia’s argument for that would be. To add onto that, just under half of them responded that they wouldn’t take any time off (42%). Logically, they wouldn’t need to since they were at home and the productivity/social engagement ratio is probably questionable at worst which is a different topic but to address that; under half of them reported not being able to maintain the same level of productivity from home (42%). Go figure.

Ignoring the blue-collar

Whenever I see a post or a video about this topic, I’m amazed at how they never address the fact that this model doesn’t work for every industry/sector/type of work. The IT industry really created a bubble in the whole world these last couple of years and this whole agenda seems to be geared towards that particular kind of work – which is something that needs to be mentioned. Many industries whose business revolves around the work which has to be done in the workplace don’t have the luxury of working from home or even flexible time management. For example, a manufacturing industry can’t displace its workers from their plants, the „Nowhere office“ is a fairy tale for them. The agriculture can’t operate unless the workers are in the field etc.

home office
Home office? Don’t bet on it

Complications for HR/Managers

Home office can present a lot of challenges for both HR and managers. As mentioned above, a particular industry which doesn’t „appreciate“ the model the way it’s intended can create a challenge indeed. For example, the HR department can create a disparity between the workers, especially if the employee engagement and interaction is dependent on the organization’s structure which divides white and blue-collar workers. In these situations, HR has to control and mitigate the relationship with/between the employees to lessen the impact of something which can’t be granted to everyone. On the other hand, managers’ life becomes much harder if they don’t have a remote-based KPI/performance structure to follow their employees; and they often don’t. In these types of situations managers usually have to exercise a higher degree of control which in turn creates a whole different basket of issues not intended for this article.

Apparent psychological aspect

Whenever I try to discuss this topic with someone, I always try to address the elephant in the room; which is the fact that people are social creatures and majority of them will, at one point or another, crave some sort of social interaction. Sure, we are all different and we have to take into the account introverts and the specific industries (like IT) but we also have to remember that the exception doesn’t disprove the rule. This is why the complete shift to home office is detrimental to future success of any business kind, in my opinion. Companies and businesses have to strive to create a balanced work model to mitigate and control the employees’ life cycle. The only exception here, if I had to name one, would be the developers which thrive on their displaced work habit to complete the project for which, usually, they only have the due date, the only performance metric tracked.


This article isn’t meant to disprove the benefits and merits which home office provides but rather address the negative side of it; something which is rarely seen in any comm regarding this. In any sales, you can’t mention the negative effects and this is no different. Any company/business has to have a good scope of how, when, to whom to apply the home office benefit and learn to regulate it so they can offset any potential side-effects.

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