For almost two years now, working from home has become the new norm due to the covid-19 pandemic. The availability of digital tools to support this has had most people thinking of the possibility of embracing this new way of working. However, some companies and organisations find it more professional and rightful to have their employees work from office, to ensure they are being productive and getting all their work done on time, according to bshub.com. But should employees have the freedom to work from home often rather than get back to the 8-5 working life routine? Nadia Umumararungu has been working from home as a customer support agent for almost a year and that this has been easier for her. “Yes, working from home can become a norm. You can organise yourself and have your routine. As for me, the routine I can use at the office is the same one I use when I am working at home. When I am all set, it’s always easier and better,” she says. “The only issue I face sometimes when working from home is poor network, but I can always report that. If my laptop works perfectly and my internet is fast, working from home gets very easy,” she adds. Solange Dukunde, a human resources officer at African Institute for Mathematical Sciences does not think that information technologies and internet availability should make work from home a norm, considering that employees’ interaction helps to boost morale among them and promotes teamwork. However, she adds, working from home can be a good solution during such pandemics like Covid-19 and can help companies reduce expenses from the workplace, given that they can easily save on water, electricity, papers, etc. “However, from the employees’ side, there may be challenges. For example, working from home with kids around can be disturbing depending on the house structure or the size of the house. Kids may make noise while you are on an important call,” she says. Bertin Ganza Kanamugire, The founder and CEO of Afflatus Africa has been working from home with his team during the Covid-19 lockdown. He declares that with information technologies and fast internet like 4G, people should get used to working from home and that it’s something they should embrace even after Covid-19, for it comes with numerous benefits. “Working from home saves the time one takes to get to work and there is no delay or complaints about road traffic. It also saves money spent on transport and lunch. Moreover, it reduces accidents because most people face them due to rushing to or from work when they have been delayed. When more people are working from home, there is less circulation of vehicles hence no traffic,” he says. “Also, working from home improves people’s well-being because they eat healthy food they have prepared by themselves. They prepare them how they want instead of going to some cheap restaurants and eating food they don’t want; mainly due to the little money they have.” However, Ganza adds that working from home may reduce social connectivity between workmates and can weaken their bond. But all in all, it’s good because it also teaches people to be independent and productive as they schedule their routine without their superior’s supervision, he says. Considering the hybrid work model Parfait Nzeyimana, an economic enthusiast, who also works and studies from home declares that working from home should be a norm but not in a sense of full-time basis. He reveals that this seemingly new mode of working has been proven to have both positive and negative effects on both employees and employers. “It was highlighted that some of the employees were increasingly feeling isolated from the social life that work can offer, and this brought challenges on employees’ health and safety,” he says. Therefore, he continues, there should be a balance between remote working (teleworking) and the face-to-face working as this will increase employees well-being, productivity and foster collaborative and creative staff in terms of developing new ideas and as well as fuel in-person activities. Steven Caleb Katurebe, a tech-enthusiast and blogger says that working from home and working from offices should be judged from an angle of the values added to the work and the challenges faced by employees and employing agencies. “With working from offices, commuting to work is challenging for some. Some companies invest in vehicles to transport their staff to and sometimes from work. Equally, employers are required to pay employee meals,” he says. “For parents, working from home becomes hard as they have disturbing kids. Also, working from home hasn’t gained the usual time schedules as it is for working from offices. Moreover, working from home does little to build a strong bond between employees of the same company.” While working from home has been lauded by some as a better alternative than working from offices, Katurebe observes that there is yet much research to be conducted to ascertain what’s more valuable to both the employers and the employees in terms of productivity and fostering organisational cultures for their long-term performance. Overall, he concludes, it’s essential to consider a hybrid model in which working from offices is alternated with working from home for better productivity and successful operations of organisations. Wiline Ikirezi, a student at Southern New Hampshire University who has been working at home in lockdown also thinks that information technology and internet availability can make working from home a norm. This she says is because the world is running fast and people need to be creative, innovative, and productive at the same time. “It has been proven that some people are very productive in a place they feel comfortable with. At their homes when they have an internet connection and can work on their daily schedule, they become productive,” she says. “It brings more benefits especially for those who don’t need to be at the office. Like for creative writers, the office can be more destructive and make them less productive which can affect their creativity. So, I think working from home can be normalised.” William Niyonzima, a histopathology lab analyst at INES-Ruhengeri says that working from home will depend on the kind of work to be done. “For example, I work in a laboratory where I teach students to manipulate, handle and practice what they should do at the hospital. With internet access, while I am working from home, my students will be able to access theoretical lectures but when it comes to practical ones, they will have to come to the laboratory. Yes, they can follow the courses on videos but well, practice is practice. They can practice better if they do it physically,” he says.