Working from Home in Malaysia: Pros and Cons of Our Lock-Down Work Life
Imagine making your own bedroom your office, your place of work, or if you’re a bit more well off, imagine having an office all with the comforts of home? It has become an increasing trend for certain industries and with good reason. By having employees work from home in Malaysia, companies can save money on renting out spaces and if the employee has their own computer they can work from, the company can make savings on equipment too!
But with the Covid-19 pandemic forcing us all to stay in our homes as directed by the Ministry of Health, many more companies have no choice than to have their employees work from home, especially if those companies are listed as non-essential services.
We at Kerija are among those companies that have been directed to close shop during the lock-down and instead work from home, as a matter of fact, I am writing this article all from the comfort of my home office (basically my tiny bedroom).
So you may think that working from home in Malaysia is going to be a blast! Not having to commute to work and dealing with traffic or crowded public transport, not having to commute back and deal with traffic and overcrowding, working in your own bedroom with blasting your favourite tunes with no one to tell you to shut it off, not having the piercing gaze of your boss directed upon you when you slack off a little, it’s sounds too good to be true!
Or does it?
Like every good thing in this world, nothing is too good to be true, and working from home has its own set of disadvantages, of which we will go through in this article. We will also be looking at the advantages of working in an office too along with its disadvantages and comparing the two aspects.
But before we get to that, let’s take a look at why some companies shouldn’t mind having their employees work from home, and what jobs you can do in which working from home in Malaysia is viable (even before the lock-down).
Why Should Companies Allow Working From Home in Malaysia?
It can Reduce Costs
This can be on a case to case basis for each company, but generally, having employees work from home means that you can cut costs on rental spaces for an office and the equipment needed for employees to use. If an employee can use their own computer and stationary from home, it means that companies won’t have to worry about spending on any of those items for an office. And when it comes to communication, we already have email, phone and now online voice calling platforms like Zoom or Skype.
Reduce Distractions from Others
Even the best employees can be distracted, say they are writing a report and they open up YouTube, and we all know how the story goes on from there. Now although getting distracted is completely normal, too much of it can be costly for a company as productivity levels are reduced. From loud employees to some of us being extroverts, being in an office with chatty people can be a slight issue, if not a big one. According to a 2019 survey done by SurePayroll that studied 2,060 professionals, 61% of the survey pool agreed that loud employees are the biggest distractions in the office. By having employees work from home, they won’t have to be distracted by each other and work without interruptions.
Reduce Stress for Employees
We may have great office culture but sometimes, being cooped up in a cubicle in an office can lead to stress regardless. Factors such as the commute to work and back and deadlines can add to this stress which impacts an employees overall health beyond the job too. A stressed out employee may not be as productive and can have implications to a companies performance.
It may be the Future.
With a younger workforce in play most companies need to also adapt to their needs and interests. Younger workers are becoming more interested in companies that offer remote employment and that number may go up.
What Jobs can People do At Home?
Real world advertising may be one thing, but you can access the internet in any place that has Wi-Fi. So it is completely possible to assist in digital marketing campaigns from home. With the right software and communication methods, a digital marketer can still tend to the online marketing needs of their respective clients. While not all digital marketing firms allow for employees to work from home, the job itself is possible to do it there nevertheless. This lock-down has proven that!
To be a full time blogger, all you need to do is have access to a computer, it doesn’t matter if it is a desktop or a laptop, and a proper online platform in which you can post your blog articles. Along with that, you need a good sense of what to write and how to write, and there you go, you’re a blogger! You can do all that from the comfort of your own home
Many freelancers are copywriters, similar to the blogger, all they need is a computer and an adequate skill in writing in order to meet their clients needs. Platforms like Fivver and Upwork can offer gigs for freelance copywriters.
E-Commerce Shop Owner
With platforms like Shopee and Lazada, people can set up shop completely online and manage it all from home.
If you are specialised in a certain prospect, you can offer consulting services for that prospect while you sit in your home office. All it takes is for you to have some knowledge on that field and offer your knowledge to help others. Say you are a digital marketing consultant, you can tend to a client’s queries with the many forms of digital communication platforms available.
If you are well versed in programming and coding language and have experience, you can work professionally and get paid a decent amount from clients, without the need of working in an office!
Social Media Manager
Again, being online means that it is very accessible, to be a social media manager, all you need is the ability to access different social media platforms, an internet connection and a talent for creating witty social media posts, and boom, you got it! Again, you can do it from home.
Working At Home: Advantages for You
Now we take a look at the personal advantages that working from home in Malaysia can bring to you.
#1. You Save on Money
Commuting to work costs money, whether you are paying for fuel, parking or a ticket for public transport. Working at home means that money doesn’t have to be spent on those things, in the long run, this can be great for your bank account. If you are the kind of person that prefers home cooked food, this will be great as you do not have to spend any money eating out in restaurants near your workplace (If your workplace does not offer catering), instead you can whip up some grub in your kitchen.
#2. Your Own Office Space.
Being at home means that you have your entire house as your office space! No more sitting in a small cubicle or sitting in an office with other employees. If your office lacks any form of decor or a homely feeling, you can have your home decorated to your taste. Just imagine, your office space with your own kitchen, fridge and lounging area all to yourself, well those are the things your home can bring.
#3. Your Own Schedule
Since you do not have to leave for the office and that you have access to your work all day at home, you can still log in the hours of a regular work day without needing to be at work at 9 AM. Just be sure to not start too late, unless you are a night owl or unless your boss wants you to get a specific task done at a certain time.
#4. No Dress Code
Not that there is nothing wrong with having a dress code, but sometimes a formal shirt and tie may not appeal to everyone. Being at home means that you can slip into something more comfortable, and no one will be around to tell you off for wearing shorts and a tank top while working, as your home is your domain. But don’t go around working in the nude now, ESPECIALLY if you live with other people.
#5. You Can Avoid Office Politics
Fellow colleagues you may meet in the office may end up being your best friends, or most the most troublesome individual for you. But one thing is for certain, we want to avoid trouble. When you work from the comfort of your own home, you can avoid the gossiping, the possible workplace bullying and undesirable office politics all together.
#6. You Can Take Care of Others
Working from home in Malaysia is really beneficial for those who have children, pets or other family members that need to be taken care of. While there are laws on providing leave to employees who have to take care of newborns, working from home means that you can be there for them all day. And when it comes to pets, those who work from home won’t need to worry about what their cat or dog is up to while they are at work, as they will be able to love and care for them while they work in their house.
The Disadvantages for You
#1. Work Life and Home Life Clash
You may think that being at home means that your home life and work life may be balanced, in reality, we have to remember that different individuals have different approaches and situations. For instance, if a person has kids and a family at home, they may need to tend to their needs and attention as well. Sometimes parents forget to tell their husband or wife and kids that they are working and need to focus and this can cause a clash in their work and home life. Sometimes, a separate or dedicated room and space may help with this, but not everyone is privileged to have a dedicated study room and they may end up working either in the living room, bedroom or dining room.
#2. Being At Home Brings New Distractions
Some might also think that being at home means that they are away from all the distractions an office may bring, be it annoying colleagues or office parties. But in actuality, being at home just means that there are different sorts of distractions. I mean come on, you’re in your house, you have your TV with Netflix, you got snacks in your kitchen, your boss isn’t here to keep an eye on you and so on. Plus if you have a family, you may be distracted by them too.
#3. Lack of Specialised Office Equipment
Some jobs require specialised equipment in order to get tasks done. IF you are in one of those kinds of jobs, then it is unlikely that you are able to work from home if you yourself do not own such equipment. For example, a task that needs to be done in your work may require the need for a slightly more powerful PC. If you do not have one at home then you may have difficulty doing that task.
#4. No Motivation Bringers or Anyone to Keep You In Check
When you are working at home, you are the one that needs to motivate yourself, and that may be easier said than done. Although we may sometimes dread whenever our boss comes in to check on us, it is actually their job to ensure that productivity is kept to a good level and that you are getting your end of the work done. When you’re at home, no one is going to check on you and that might make us more inclined to slack off and not do enough of the work we are given. Some people may have no issue with this however, but in general, having no one to make sure you are doing your work may spell disaster for your productivity.
And there we have it, the aspect of working from home covered. Hopefully you have learned a thing or two from this article. While working at home may be a privilege for some, with the current pandemic, most of us have no choice but to brave the many disadvantages working from home may bring, but we should also revel and make use of their advantages to the best of our ability as well.
We at Kerija hope that you are doing your part in reducing Malaysia’s number of cases by staying at home and practicing social distancing rules. By doing that, we should be able to get back to work as usual!
For more articles, do check out the rest of our blog!