From the beginning of 2020, COVID-19 broke out in China which slowly led to the world having to defend itself and save the people that have been infected by it. Since middle of March, Malaysia has issued Movement Control Order so that the country will be able to contain the virus and treat patients that were positive of the virus.
Businesses like HAUZ were forced to close down temporarily and the teams begin to work remotely from their respective homes. So how has it been ever since then?
In this article we will be interviewing two of HAUZ’s staff, Niba and Khairul, where they will share their experience of working from home during the pandemic.
A short introduction about the two:
Khairul is HAUZ’s software developer where he assists his team in developing the HQ Portal that our company has to offer as well as maintaining the company’s website and blog.
Niba is the corporate executive in the company where her tasks are approaching potential clients as well as marketing. She also does the designs for the company when needed.
How does it feel to be working from home? What are the challenges do you face compare to working in the office and why?
Khairul: I feel that working from home is not too much of a difference than working in the office but my only challenge is that working from home during this MCO period is causing many others to stay at home and use internet for their daily routines. So some of users of non fibre Wifi like me will have issues on network traffic and internet connection will become slow as there are many usage of the internet in that area. So it’s a challenges for me that I is making some of my task to delay.
Niba: Working at home is quite convenient for me. The things that I do at work, I can do it at home as well. The challenges I faced are, working at home is not the same as working at the office. I can communicate with my bosses easily at the office and talk to my colleagues. There’s also an environment difference, you get distracted easily at home but compared to the office that is a designated place for you to focus on your work which shows a work-life balance.
How do you manage your tasks given to you when it comes to working remotely?
Khairul: My team will always have an online meeting and distribute the task among us and will be updated on Jira board. So every day I will look on the Jira board and update the task status and also our job scope is not effected much during this MCO period because we did not include other people business that need to face to face and contacting them. So basically we’re only doing the same job like we did before MCO.
Niba: I would get assigned a task on Jandi and I will prioritize the ones that has deadlines that are due earlier. I will get it done and send it. It is not much different to how I work in the office as well.
Does working from home during this COVID-19 situation gives you the opportunity to take up new skills? If so, what else have you been doing?
Khairul: I improved my cooking skill as it is hard to buy some food outside and ordering food is currently costly. So one way to overcome this issue is cooking for our self. Other than that, I just improve my programming skills.
Niba: It does give me the opportunity to take up skills. If its about work related skills, I have looked up free courses online and I have pumped up my Adobe Illustrator skills. I learned how to use other softwares as well like Adobe XD and learn how to edit videos. I take advantage of the free trials and such that companies give out at this time to learn new skills.
What do you use to communicate with your team mates and ensuring that the tasks are completed on time?
Khairul: We always contact by Slack and Jandi as well as have a group channel for us to communicate and discuss about an issues or work. We also will have a weekly meeting to ensure our task is completed and discuss on new tasks.
Niba: We use Slack and Jandi to communicate. We will have meetings on Amazon Chime and Zoom. We also use other softwares to ensure that tasks are done and to work together when needed.
What do you do to fill in your social needs during this time?
Khairul: For my social needs, I always turn on my social media and contact my friends from there. I would also play games with them in PUBG and MLBB, and sometimes we will have group video calls in late of night.
Niba: To fill my social needs, luckily I have my family so we would spend time together by watching movies and I would play online games with my friends.
What are the pros and cons of working from home?
Khairul: Pros is that I can start my job early and do my tasks anytime until late of night and no need to wear a good attire. Cons is the internet connection traffic being slow.
Niba: Pros would be you can manage your time at your own pace and theres no pressure to getting to work so you can put more hours at work. You can also work in your own pajamas and also have the time to do your own personal things at home. You will be able to work more comfortably at home, you are actually more relax and more focused.
The cons would be sometimes you get a little bit too comfortable at home which might make it harder for you to get your work done compared to being in the office where you can be in the zone of working.
Anything else you like to add?
Khairul: For me, I prefer working in the office than from home because the environment will help me to focus than being in at home but it is because I do not have a proper work space at home yet. Maybe one day if I had my own house and create a comfortable work space then I will prefer working from home.
Niba: Preference of working from home versus working in the office does depend on the person itself and how they are. I know few colleagues here that would definitely find that working from home makes them more productive that working in the office. Some people just prefer to have privacy and work more efficiently when they are alone. It is a matter of finding what makes you work best and finding that comfort zone that helps you get the job done.
As the author of this article I would like to add my own short experience working from home. Working from home has proven to be quite beneficial for working life and my personal life (and helps me save on transportation money). I am pretty much an introvert and being around people can be quite tiring quick despite having wonderful colleagues. It is comfortable being at home and I find that I work better when I am alone with my own space and able to use it to be in my own zone and concentrate on getting work done.
Not only that, I am also able to do other things which I was not able to do when it comes to my usual routine before working from home started. I get personal things done along with my work done which to me brings out my kind of work-life balance. But as Niba mentions, it depends on the person.
Working from home seems to be on the rise after companies are forced to having to resort to that option to ensure business is still running. But it may not be for everyone as some would still prefer an office environment. Some companies have given employees a choice that if an employee would like to work from home then they are able to do so otherwise they are always welcomed to be in the office.
We might be seeing more companies giving that option to their current and future employees if it means that it will help the productivity for their company.