Assessing the Productivity of Working from Home during Pandemic Control

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Background of the Study

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is defined as illness caused by a novel coronavirus and it is now called severe acute respiratory system coronavirus (SARS CoV 2). It was first identified amid an outbreak of respiratory illness cases in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China. December 2019, it was initially reported to the World Health Organization (WHO). WHO declared the COVID-19 as a global pandemic. COVID-19 is the new termed from illness named SARS CoV 2 which was derived from the “coronavirus disease 2019”. China announced its first COVID-19 related death on 11th January which is a 61 years old man, believed exposed to seafood market (WHO, 2020).

In Malaysia, Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin was announced Movement Control Order (MCO) started on 18 March 2020 until now. MCO implemented as a preventive measure of the federal government of Malaysia towards the 2019–20 coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19). During MCO, all houses of worship, government and private premise and institution should be closed. Recent evidence suggest that who are kept in isolation and quarantine experience significant distress in the form of anxiety, anger, confusion and post-traumatic stress symptoms (Roy et al., 2020). For those who have just returned from overseas, they are required to undergo a health check and to do quarantine for 14 days.

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Most of us are dealing with concerns such as the health of family, friends or themselves as the COVID-19 pandemic shatters the world and changes almost the whole of our lifestyle (UTM, 2020). However, some of premises have decided to still operate but from home. The workers need to follow the instructions given. Other than, work from home can give positive and negative effect. Work from home that dealing with family can be struggles in managing both work and family. Work-family conflict negatively affects performance and satisfaction in the work domain, diminishes mental and physical health outcomes (Peeters,Ten Brummelhuis, & Van

Steenbergen, 2013). It will result to uncertainty of effectiveness and efficiency towards work quality up to management expectation. Therefore, this study aims to seek individual outcomes of work from home during pandemic from worker’s perception.

Work from home is a concept where the worker can do his or her job from home. Work from home gives a flexible working hour to the employee as well as the job for the employer is done with ease. Work from home is helpful to delivering work life balance to the employee, and also parallel helps the company to get the work done. Nowadays, most of the employers are offering this option to their employees. Working from home is generally perceived as an effective means of reducing energy use and associated pollution from commuter transport (Fu et al. 2012).

Definition of Terms

Effectiveness is degree to which users correctly and completely achieve specified goals. Efficiency is resources expended by users to correctly and completely achieve specified goals (Ferreira et al., 2020).

It is stated that in our framework that we use three terms which background, facilities and cognition is. Background here means that, the background of every worker such as their age, gender, marital status, education level, and income group. The facilities are means by the infrastructure of the work space, the accessibility of internet and work environment.

Lastly, the cognition which mean anything that involve with thinking. It includes physical and mental readiness and work life balance, workload on office works vs housework. Sayers et al., (2005) stated that working from home is working in home environment and day spent at home. According to Hassan and Nuruddin (2011), ‘Teleworking’, Telecommuting’, ‘Home working’, and ‘Working at Home’ are some of the other various terms for working from home.

Scope of the Study

The main focus of this research is effectiveness and efficiency towards work quality when need to work from home. Therefore, this study aims to seek individual outcomes of work from home during pandemic from worker’s perception.

Significance of the Study

This study examined the effectiveness and efficiency towards work quality when need to work from home. It is more focus to workers that was forced to work from home due to pandemic issue. Government announced Movement Control Order (MCO). So, if the institution or organization have decide that all worker need to work from home, they need to follow. Based on this study, it is very useful to students, researcher or organization that wants to know about the individual outcomes of work from home during pandemic from workers’ perception. It is also can make them prepared their physical and mental during this pandemic happen. They also may know the factors that need to be consider while working from home in order to give effectiveness in quality of work.

Research Objectives

This research was developed to seek individual outcomes of work from home during pandemic from workers’ perception. Based on problem statement stated in this chapter, three objectives can be stipulated to the present study:

  1. To determine the relationship between complete facilities and technology towards quality of work.
  2. To determine the relationship between physical and mental readiness towards quality of work.
  3. To determine the balancing and managing workload in order to produce quality of work.

Problem Statement

Currently, COVID-19 has caused global health concern. Due to COVID-19 outbreak, MCO has been announced that everyone is not allowed to undergo their normal lifestyle including going out and socializing. Also not to mention, workers need to start working from home. They may face struggles in managing both work and family, and the struggles could occur almost daily which probably may bring either positive or negative consequences. The Coronavirus pandemic is affecting every facet of our daily lives, including the way of working. A rapid increase in the number of employer across the world required their people to work from home as part of the efforts to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. This may not be an isolated shift. Work from home can negatively affects performance and satisfaction in work domain, and diminish mental and physical health outcomes, which will result to the uncertainty of effectiveness and efficiency towards work quality up to management expectation. According to Edwards and Rothbard (2000), Ezzedeen and Swiercz (2007), Greenhaus and Beutell (1985), it is stated that “work stress produces negative emotions that spill over into employees’ non-work time, weighing them down with negative moods and continuing thoughts about work during their non-work time.”

It has been recognized that working from home is the most flexible job because workers can work anytime they want. However, workers might encounter with problem in balancing the quality of life. According to this approach family life balance is a source of social support that can affect perceived stress of employees (Efeoğlu & Özgen, 2007). The workload stress affects an employee’s cognitive preoccupation and contributes to negative mood even when the employee joins their family after work. Such negative mood and cognitive preoccupation serve as transitional challenges and create conflict for the employee between work and family domains (Edwards & Rothbard, 2000, Greenhaus & Beutell, 1985).

Working from home can be affected by the environment for the worker. There are some differences between the house environment and office environment in terms of their qualities. These differences are the result of tension between living and working (Myerson & Philip Ross, 2006). Vischer (2007) claimed that the sustained impact of adverse environmental elements may also cause a delayed reaction, affecting performance immediately after the eradication of the stressor elements in the working environment. Moreover, uncongenial workplace environment such as noisy (much on unfamiliar sound), too low or high temperature, stuffy office, lack of natural light or even cramped working space might affect individual performance and quality. Though the job performance is measured on quantity basis, but for some jobs, it is relies on the workplace setting in which it gives undeviating impact to the workers. Recent studies on physical workplace environment reveal the uncongenial physical working environments do decrease the quality of job, especially among workers in industrial sector. The uncongeniality and misfit of physical working environment indeed affect not only the motivation of the worker, but also the satisfaction, social relation, performance and health of the employees (Abdul Badayai, 2010)

Technology has allowed working remotely to become a growing trend but the recent COVID-19 outbreak has sped up the process drastically. Many Malaysians were forced to embrace working remotely from home for the first time when the Movement Control Order (MCO) in Malaysia came into effect on March 18 (HR Asia, 2020). Therefore, to enable the concept of working from home being implemented, there are some basic requirements should be provided in advance such as computer, internet access, computer with fax capability, fax machine, telephone or hand phone, pager (Asaari & Karia, 2001). Unfortunately, the technology or internet in Malaysia is not too good compared to other country that has good connection and good technology for their preparation to work from home. This will affect the quality and the process to do the work.

This study investigates whether work from home can affect the productivity of working from home during pandemic control. Moreover, it also aims to seek individual outcomes of work from home during pandemic from worker’s perception. Based on the problems mentioned above, there are five research questions to guide this study: (1) Does the worker have problems with facilities? (2) Is there any relationship between work from home towards technology in providing quality work? (3) Does the environment give negative impact or disturb worker while work from home? (4) Are workers ready to work from home based on physical and mental and (5) How they work in balance and manage workload on office work and housework. Research questions

(1) (2) and (3) were derived from the first objective, while for research question (4) and (5) covered the second objective.


In conclusion, this chapter include of seven sections. First, it is started with background of study. This part explains in details about COVID-19 outbreak that announce on Movement Control Order by government. After that, this chapter continues with second section which is explained about the term that used in research. Then, scope of the study and significance of the study is very important in research. On the other section, it discuss about research objectives which is it helps to lead the research. In this research, problem statement plays a major role. We can do investigation based on problem statement that is stated.









Marital status


Number of children

I have proper equipment so that it is easier for me to do my work at home.

I have a stable internet connection to do my work.


I feel comfortable communicating with my colleagues via email, chat, video conference etc.

I find it hard to switch from being officer at work to being a parent of partner at home.

I feel afraid to make mistake by doing work alone.

I had no idea where to start and what is the expectation.

I feel several work related things come with a very short notice.

I feel this work need to be done by several people and it affect the quality of work.

I have to keep up with paperwork and make sure I meet the deadlines.


I do not fully understand about the task given.

I have to keep up with paperwork and make sure I meet the deadlines.

I have a lot of work stuff to do, but I wasn’t productive.

I feel like there are many work online that I cannot choose which one to start first.

I feel exhausted due to workload.

I feel really tired about yesterday work and it effect my quality of work.

I frequently work overtime at home.

I feel demotivated working at home.

I feel distracted working at home.

Quality of Work

I feel stress doing my work at home.

I feel less effective working at home.

The conceptual framework




Marital status

Education level

Income group






· Physical and mental

· readiness

· Work life balance, workload on office work

vs housework

Modify framework

Sources: Pluuta, Iliesb, Petru L., Liue (2018)

Quality of work:

Effectiveness and efficiency of working from home


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