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Advantages and Disadvantages of Working from Home at Times of Covid-19 among UAE’s Employees


Subject Business Pages 6 Style APA



The World Health Organization (WHO) has described COVID-19 as a highly infectious disease. The virus is transmitted through the air thus making it highly infectious. So far, it has been reported across 188 countries, thus prompting governments to introduce measures to curb its spread. Owing to the fact that a cure is yet to be discovered, governments are taking every precaution to protect their citizens and healthcare systems from the possible strain of over admitting patients. According to Mustajab et al., (2020) one of the measures adopted by the governments around the world, and also in the United Arabs Emirates is locking down public places. Essentially, this means that people have to work from home. Whereas the nature of some jobs allows employees to work from home, some do not support the stay at home arrangement. Because of the economic inactivity, it is feared that millions of people have and will lose their jobs post-COVID-19. For those in professionals that allow for remote working, it has been a hectic journey for the employees and the organizations to readjust to the new norm – Working from Home (WFH).

As much as WFH has helped save jobs and keep the employees productive even while on lockdown, research has shown that employees are finding it hard to adjust to the work at home environment. Counter research has shown that the work from home arrangement can be productive when properly managed. On the other hand, Mustajab et al., (2020) evaluate the possibilities of embracing working from home as a strategic move towards lowering operation costs while encouraging work-life balance among employees. Given the rising costs of acquiring offices in the major cities, and the lower costs of acquiring digital resources such as teleconferencing devices, it is likely that WFH will define and subsequently shape the future of work. This phenomenon will likely combine remote working and flexible working.

  • Problem Statement

The UAE government has been proactive in supporting economic and social growth. Through the Abu Dhabi Vision 2030 and the Abu Dhabi Centennial 2071 goals, the government envisions a strong economy that will contribute to a happy society (UAE, 2020b). The realization of these goals is dependent on both economic stability and support for digitalization programs in what is known as a digital economy (UAE, 2020a). Unfortunately, COVID-19 pandemic has caused shocks not only in the UAE but also globally thus threatening the realization of the short-term economic goals. On the other hand, it has hastened the realization of a digital economy as citizens are forced to work from home and engage in less commute. The rapid transition to a digital economy invokes the questions on whether working from home during COVID-19 pandemic is productive or not. Similarly, there is a need to assess the future opportunities that could be realized by organizations that will continue to use enterprise working strategy post-pandemic. The data collected through this research will be helpful in informing future policies on WFH by the UAE government, organizations, and the employees.

  • Rationale for the Research

The justification for conducting this research is to perform a cost benefit analysis that will either support or discourage the future use of work from home arrangements during and after the pandemic. In particular, the study intends to probe and understand experiences of employees working from home. By doing this, the organizations will access current data on the challenges encountered by their employees, how WFH impacted their productivity, customer satisfaction, usage of resources, efficiency, concentration, job satisfaction, and profit margins made by the organization. Given the mutually beneficial relationship between organizations and employees, it is important to understand how WFH fits into the flexible working arrangement, and how such strategies will benefit will contribute to the wellness and higher quality of life while enhancing profit margins for the organization. Because of these reasons, this study is important to the government, the employees and the organizations. Undertaking the study will inform government policies on digital economies. It will help organizations strategize on better workplace flexibility post-COVID-19 and enable employees to capitalize on the opportunity to balance personal growth and professional development.

  • Project Question

What are the advantages and disadvantages of working from home at times of Covid-19?

  • Research Objectives

The primary objective for this research is to assess the advantages and disadvantages of working from home at times of COVID-19 among employees in the UAE.

Secondary Objectives

  • To assess the pros and cons of WFH during COVID-19
  • To examine the effect of working from home strategy on employee’s productivity during COVID-19 pandemic
  • To assess the opportunity of introducing working from home as part of enterprise working strategy post COVID-19
    • Hypothesis

Hypothesis 1: If the lockdown persists then firms will derive more advantages from WFH than the disadvantages reported by employees in UAE

Hypothesis 2: If working from home is productive, then organizations should adapt it as a key strategy to promote efficiency and effectiveness in operation.

  • Definition of Terms

Working from Home (WFH) – refers to the process where an employee works from their place of residence namely house or apartment rather than commuting to the office. It is also known as remote working.

Flexible working – this concept refers to a flexible hour schedule where workers are allowed to alter the start and finish times of their workdays.

Work-life balance – refers to the state of equilibrium achieved when a worker balances family/ leisure activity and productive working.

Workforce productivity – this is a term that depicts the assessment of the efficiency and output of either an individual worker or a team.

COVID-19 – an abbreviation of Coronavirus Disease caused by acute inflammation of the respiratory syndrome classified under the SARS-CoV-2 family.

  • Summary

This section acknowledges that working from home (WFH) is a timely phenomenon that is aimed at encouraging the realization of the governments vision of a digital economy. The COVID-19 pandemic has hastened the process as governments across 188 countries have introduced partial and complete lockdowns of economies forcing employees to work from home. This paper therefore evaluates the pros and cons and presents a cost benefit analysis of the trade-off. Using the findings, governments can improve on policies on digital economies. Organizations can identify ways of bettering the workplace to optimize productivity while the employees can learn to achieve a favourable work-life balance that will be beneficial to their employers.

  • Literature Review
    • Title of research paper – WFH phenomenon as an effort to prevent coronavirus disease attacks and impact on work productivity

This journal article by Mustajab et al. (2020) note that COVID-19 has changed the corporate culture of organizations by forcing them to introduce the WFH phenomenon. WFH is a strategic approach to preventing contagion and spread of the virus. In return, the new culture has affected productivity of the employees and the organizations. The study by Mustajab et al., (2020) used qualitative research approaches to evaluate the impact of WFH on the productivity of the employees. It further explains the pros and cons of WFH on the employees and their respective organizations. The qualitative method of research and the exploratory approach were used to explore the main objective which was to explain the connection between WFH and employee productivity. 50 respondents were involved in the research study, where they were sampled using snowballing and supplied with in-depth interviews. The interviews were done through Zoom Cloud Meeting (ZCM), Facetime and WhatsApp. The findings show that WFH has led to a significant decline in employee productivity. In addition, the research also established that work from home or remote working might be untenable in the long run since it is impractical and generally not realistic for employees to some works to their residences. For instance, a machine operator cannot carry the machine to their place. Nonetheless, for the industries such as the service sector where employees can serve customers through digital channels, it is realistic to pursue such avenues as they provide a desirable balance between work and family for the employees.

A summary of the findings shows that work from home had both negative and positive impacts. The positives represent the advantages. They include having a comfortable work environment that is regulated by the employee, quality time with family, saves time that could be used on commute and interactions (socializing) with employees, reduces workplace conflicts and politics, allows for work-life balance, and enables flexibility. On the downside, working from home has the disadvantages of decreasing the workers motivation, attracts additional costs from the organization which is required to introduce monitoring systems, distraction at home, limited communication with colleagues, and the possibility of multitasking which lowers the workers focus on the job. The challenge of multitasking mostly affects women since they are required to care for their families.

  • Title of research paper – What can we learn from the COVID-19 pandemic about people’s experience of WFH and commuting

The authors of the article note that COVID-19 led to drastic and exceptional measures aimed at combating its spread. As a result, millions of workers are restricted to working from home. In the process, COVID-19 has presented workers and organizations with unique opportunities to evaluate the necessity of mobility, the essence of face-to-face contract and the idea of WFH. Unlike the previous article, the author introduces the advantage of reduced carbon emissions (pollution) as a result of increased WFH and reduced commute. To probe further into the issues of concern, Rubin et al., (2020) used an online survey to investigate the experiences and perception of working from home as an alternative to commute. The primary question was to evaluate the costs and benefits of WFH.

 The online survey was distributed, filled and collected via social networking platforms. The target population for the research was people who commuted to work prior to the pandemic but have since been forced to work from home. Data was collected from 1,014 respondents in the month of April. Just like the previous research, the findings show that productivity decreased significantly when working from home. However, the employees remained hopeful that they can continue working from home in the future. In general, the respondents were positive about continued WFH arrangements post-pandemic. The respondents lamented that they missed the workplace because of the social contact with other employees. To some respondents, social isolation was boring. Just like the first research, Rubin et al., (2020) summarize that the advantages of working from home include eliminating commute, saves money and time, flexible, comfortable and requires less energy. On the other hand, working from home has disadvantages such as distraction, lack of social contact, lack of face to face communications, too much freedom, lack of tools and lack of balance between work, lack of tools, and household chores.

  • Tile of research paper – Impact of WFH on Indonesian Teachers Performance during COVID-19

The exploratory research study sought to collect information on the pros and cons of WFH among Indonesian teachers during the pandemic. The research used the case study approach to identify qualitative cases on the disadvantages and advantages of WFH. The research was complemented by 6 respondents from an elementary school. They were administered with semi-structured interviews. The results showed that there are both pros and cons of WFH. Just like the previous studies, the advantages include flexible work arrangements, eliminates transport costs and contributes to less stress arising from daily commute (Purwanto et al., 2020). In addition, WFH saves more time. On the other hand, its cons include loss of motivation to work, employee has to incur cost of internet and electricity and third, there is a greater danger of data security concerns.

  • Title of research paper – COVID-19 and WFH: Digital transformation of the workforce

In this article, Savić (2020) notes that countermeasures such as social isolation, lockdown, and WFH have reduced the dependence of organizations on physical offices. In return, the organizations have been forced to undergo a rapid digital transformation which has led to the unprecedented evolution of the work environment. Unlike the first two articles, the author points out the need for digital transformation that will support the workforce requirements of working from home. This includes increased costs of training and imparting workers with digital literacy, lifelong microlearning, and cultivating a culture of digital ethics (Savić, 2020). In addition, organizations are required to invest in distance collaborations, and replacing traditional work culture in favour of digitalization.




Mustajab, D., Bauw, A., Rasyid, A., Irawan, A., Akbar, M. A., & Hamid, M. A. (2020). Working from Home Phenomenon as an Effort to Prevent COVID-19 Attacks and Its Impacts on Work Productivity. TIJAB (The International Journal of Applied Business), 4(1), 13-21.

Purwanto, A., Asbari, M., Fahlevi, M., Mufid, A., Agistiawati, E., Cahyono, Y., & Suryani, P. (2020). Impact of Work from Home (WFH) on Indonesian Teachers Performance During the Covid-19 Pandemic: An Exploratory Study. International Journal of Advanced Science and Technology, 29(05), 6235-6244.

Rubin, O., Nikolaeva, A., Nello-Deakin, S., & te Brömmelstroet, M. (2020). What can we learn from the COVID-19 pandemic about how people experience working from home and commuting? Centre for Urban Studies, University of Amsterdam.

Savić, D. (2020). COVID-19 and Work from Home: Digital Transformation of the Workforce. Grey Journal (TGJ), 16(2).

UAE. (2020a). Digital economy. Retrieved from: https://u.ae/en/about-the-uae/economy

UAE. (2020b). Abu Dhabi Economic Vision 2030. Retrieved from: https://u.ae/en/about-the-uae/strategies-initiatives-and-awards/local-governments-strategies-and-plans/abu-dhabi-economic-vision-2030


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