What is WFH (Work from home)?

What is WFH?

WFH is an acronym for “work from home”, which describes a modern working arrangement where employees perform job responsibilities remotely, typically from their own homes instead of an office. It offers flexibility, improved work-life balance, and cost savings for employers. 

The work-from-home model is made possible through readily available digital capabilities such as video conferencing, instant messaging, and cloud-based collaboration tools.

According to a recent survey by the Pew Research Center, 35% of workers with jobs that can be done remotely are now working from home full-time.

As technology-driven innovation continues to advance and work cultures evolve into the Next Normal, an increasing number of companies are recognizing the advantages of remote work. Embracing this shift allows organizations to tap into the benefits offered by a flexible and location-independent workforce.

WFH empowers employees to work in a manner that suits them best while enabling organizations to adapt, attract, and retain talent by promoting a dynamic and productive work environment.

Effective communication and support are vital for successfully implementing WFH arrangements and should be emphasized in a rapidly changing work landscape where remote work has become the new norm.

The following synonyms can be used interchangeably with WFH: 

  • Work from home
  • Working from home
  • Telecommuting 
  • Remote work
  • Working remotely 
  • Virtual work

This glossary explores WFH, examining why working from home has gained such prominence, and provides a comprehensive overview of its various aspects.

Coronavirus and WFH

For many, Coronavirus (COVID-19) put work on hold. For example, employees or business owners of laundromats and education facilities could not transition to a WFH model. 

For many service providers, however, Coronavirus has pushed them to further utilize technology and address how they can efficiently and effectively continue to work and function digitally. Digital adoption is key in determining how quickly and efficiently a company operates virtually.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that telework accounted for about 50% of paid work hours between April and December 2020, compared to just 5% before the pandemic.

The rise of WFH

Whether due to the economic turmoil caused by COVID-19, the prevalence of tech capabilities, or simply shifting attitudes towards work culture, the undeniable value realized in work-from-home (WFH) arrangements has firmly established it as a mainstay working model.

As our understanding of what it means to “work” evolves, the concept of WFH has transcended from being a mere trend to becoming a lifestyle and a necessity for many individuals. Fulfilling workplace obligations productively from the comfort of personal settings has revolutionized the traditional work paradigm.

As per a recent McKinsey survey, 58% of employed individuals, equivalent to 92 million people from various job sectors, now have the opportunity to work remotely for all or part of the week. This finding comes after more than two years of observing remote work and predicting that flexible working would continue even beyond the COVID-19 pandemic.

58% of employed individuals equivalent to 92 million

Distinguishing WFH and Remote Work

The terms “Working from Home” (WFH) and “Remote Work” are often used interchangeably. However, it is essential to observe both their similarities and differences. Though both involve working outside a traditional office setting, they possess distinct characteristics that set them apart.

  1. Definition and Scope: WFH typically pertains to employees who can work from the comfort of their homes rather than commuting to a physical office. It represents a flexible arrangement within an established work structure. On the contrary, remote work is a broader concept that liberates individuals, enabling them to work from anywhere they choose. Remote workers can opt for co-working spaces and coffee shops or even embark on their work journeys while traversing the globe.
  2. Flexibility and Freedom: WFH predominantly implies a localized approach, where employees primarily operate from their homes while occasionally stepping foot in the office. In contrast, remote work embodies a greater degree of flexibility and liberation from geographic constraints. Remote workers revel in the freedom to toil away from anywhere, unburdened by the shackles of a specific physical locale. This newfound independence fosters diverse work environments, enriching travel opportunities, and a superior work-life balance.
  3. Employment Status: While WFH predominantly caters to employees who maintain a conventional employment relationship with a company, remote work encompasses a broader spectrum of work arrangements. Remote workers can encompass freelancers, contractors, and individuals engaged concurrently with multiple clients or companies. Remote work bestows more flexibility concerning working hours, project-based engagements, and entrepreneurial pursuits.
  4. Collaboration and Communication: WFH and remote work rely heavily on digital communication tools to establish and nurture connections with colleagues and employers. However, remote work strongly emphasizes asynchronous communication and virtual collaboration. Remote teams are adept at harnessing technology to collaborate effectively across different time zones, collectively working on projects despite physical distances.

The Benefits of WFH

As technology and outlooks on contemporary employment evolve, the work-from-home (WFH) paradigm challenges the traditional expectation of heading into an office from 9 to 5. 

This seismic shift in the work landscape brings with it a multitude of possibilities and benefits. Below we explore WFH’s untapped potential and its transformative impact on employees and organizations.

WFH For Employees:


  1. Work-Life Integration: Remote work empowers employees to seamlessly blend their personal and professional lives, promoting a sense of control and fulfillment.
  2. Increased Happiness and Job Satisfaction: With no commute and a comfortable work environment, remote workers experience greater happiness and job satisfaction.
  3. Heightened Focus and Productivity: Fewer distractions and personalized workspaces translate to increased focus and productivity for remote employees.
  4. Time and Cost Savings: Remote workers save time and money by eliminating the need for commuting, leading to better work-life balance and financial well-being.
  5. Improved Well-being: Remote work allows employees to prioritize self-care, improving physical and mental health.
  6. Positive Environmental Impact: Reduced commuting contributes to a greener planet by lowering carbon emissions and traffic congestion.

WFH For Employers:


  1. Access to Global Talent: Embracing remote work opens opportunities to recruit top talent from diverse locations, fostering a skilled and varied workforce.
  2. Cultivating Innovation: Remote work encourages creativity and fresh perspectives, driving digital innovation.
  3. Enhanced Employee Retention: Offering remote work options demonstrates a commitment to work-life balance, leading to higher job satisfaction and employee retention.
  4. Increased Productivity: Remote work minimizes office distractions, enabling employees to focus better and achieve higher productivity levels.
  5. Cost Savings and Resource Allocation: Remote work reduces overhead costs such as office space and utilities, allocating resources to growth initiatives.
  6. Business Continuity: Remote work ensures business operations can continue during unforeseen events, maintaining productivity and customer satisfaction.

Challenges of WFH

While offering numerous benefits, working from home also presents several challenges that individuals and organizations may face. 

According to Forbes, 40% of employees do not have a dedicated workspace, 20% work from their living rooms, and 30% encounter various challenges while working remotely.

40% of employees do not have a dedicated workspace

Here’s an overview of some common challenges to remote work:

Challenges for employees:

Work Balance: Achieving a work-life balance can be tough when working in a home setting. Blurred lines between professional and personal life can result in longer work hours and difficulty disconnecting. According to Statista, in 2022, 21% of respondents reported that their biggest struggle with remote work was staying at home too often because they felt a lack of reasons to leave.

Communication and Collaboration: Working from home relies on effective communication tools. Lack of face-to-face interaction can lead to miscommunication and hinder teamwork and project outcomes.

Feeling Isolated: WFH can cause feelings of isolation due to the absence of social office interactions. Limited human contact can impact motivation, morale, and well-being.

Distractions and Productivity: Home workers face various distractions like household chores or noisy environments. Maintaining focus and productivity becomes challenging.

Technology Issues: Technical glitches, connectivity problems, and software compatibility issues can hinder workflow and productivity in work-from-home environments.

Lack of Structure: Without a structured office environment, establishing routine and discipline becomes difficult. This affects time management and productivity.

Work-Personal Boundaries: Setting boundaries between work and personal life is challenging when working from home. Overworking and difficulty disconnecting can arise.

Challenges for employees

Challenges for Organizations:

Communication and Team Collaboration: Ensuring seamless communication and collaboration among remote teams is vital.

Employee Engagement and Connection: Keeping remote employees engaged and connected requires innovative approaches like virtual team-building activities.

Performance Monitoring and Evaluation: Evaluating remote employee performance needs clear metrics and evaluation processes tailored to the remote work environment.

Technology and Infrastructure: Providing employees with reliable technology and addressing connectivity issues are essential for remote work success.

Culture and Team Dynamics: Maintaining team dynamics and organizational culture in a remote setting requires proactive efforts.

Addressing these challenges involves clear guidelines, training opportunities, and fostering an inclusive remote work culture for employers. To overcome these hurdles, employees should focus on self-care, effective communication, and proactive engagement.

Challenges for Organizations_6664e5a8

How to WFH successfully

In the scramble to maintain business continuity during the COVID-19 crisis, some companies were more prepared than others. 

A digital transformation-led approach to WFH encapsulates this. As software capabilities become more complex and business processes come to rely on them more, companies realize that leveraging contemporary digital solutions that facilitate working from home can be just as efficient as on-premises work.

Research shows that 12.7% of full-time employees have embraced remote work as of 2023, while around 28.2% have adopted a hybrid work arrangement that combines remote and in-person work

Looking ahead to 2025, a staggering 32.6 million individuals are projected to be part of the remote workforce.

Expectations must be clearly defined before a WFH team can be effective and a unified communications (UC) solution determined. This is a large task in itself and involves auditing the company, finding a vendor that fits your needs, implementing UC systems, training staff, and possibly even upgrading the internet.

Five methods for becoming WFH ready

Beyond a UC solution, CIOs can help their companies prepare for a remote workforce by taking these steps: 


  1. 1. Create a WFH action plan – The plan should include what type of remote work will be allowed, when and where WFH will occur, how to effectively manage remote staff, and which tools need to be deployed.
  2. Reassess infrastructure – Does your organization’s network have the bandwidth to handle remote working? Is the current cloud infrastructure right for this situation? As the digital workplace expands, investment in infrastructure is paramount.
  3. Deploy the right tools – Essential tools that are readily available and can handle increased demand are crucial. For effective workflow, collaborative and productivity software must be in place. Ensure you have videoconferencing technology, project management systems, and other apps for communication like Teams, Slack, Zoom, etc.
  4. Assist with employee readiness – How aware are you of your employees’ current WFH setup and equipment needs? Put together a WFH checklist for remote workers: webcam, headset, fast internet, software, etc. The software implementation will require training and IT support – to ensure a plan is in place.
  5. Secure your systems – Security is a top priority. With employees remotely accessing computers and company files, be especially vigilant on the security front. Enforce multi-factor authentication, update virus protection, and ensure employees understand security protocols.

Five methods for becoming WFH ready_264e5a93

Frequently asked questions

  • What tools are commonly used for WFH?
    Commonly used tools for WFH include video conferencing platforms like Zoom and Microsoft Teams for virtual meetings, project management software like Asana or Trello for task organization, communication tools like Slack or Microsoft Teams for team collaboration, and cloud storage platforms like Google Drive or Dropbox for file sharing and storage.
  • How can I maintain productivity while working from home?
    To maintain productivity while working from home, establish a designated workspace, set clear goals and deadlines, create a daily routine, minimize distractions, take regular breaks, communicate effectively with colleagues, and prioritize self-care and work-life balance.
  • How can I stay connected with my team while working remotely?
    To stay connected with your team while working remotely, utilize video conferencing for meetings and virtual check-ins, use real-time instant messaging tools for effective communication and collaboration, establish open communication channels, and participate in virtual team-building initiatives.
  • How can employers ensure the successful implementation of WFH policies?
    Employers can ensure the successful implementation of WFH policies by providing clear guidelines and expectations, offering necessary technology and resources, promoting collective collaboration, encouraging regular check-ins, fostering a supportive virtual work culture, and regularly evaluating and addressing any challenges that arise.
  • Is WFH a temporary trend or here to stay?
    While the COVID-19 pandemic initially accelerated the widespread adoption of WFH, it has proven successful for many organizations and individuals. As a result, it is expected that a hybrid work model combining remote and in-office work will become more common in the future, indicating that WFH is likely here to stay as a flexible work option.
  • Are there any legal considerations for employers implementing WFH policies?
    Legal considerations for employers implementing WFH policies may vary by jurisdiction. Employers must consult with legal professionals to ensure compliance with applicable labor laws, data protection regulations, and employee rights pertaining to remote work arrangements.

Updated: November 09, 2023

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