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WORK FROM HOME : THE NEW NORMAL?

Waking up early, getting ready, and searching for the car keys or rushing to the metro seems to be a dream now. The COVID-19 pandemic has made us realize that ‘Change Is Persistent’, whether it is a lifestyle, business, or profession. The working pattern has drastically changed over the past few months posing work from home as a new normal. But Is working from home the permanent future?

Reasons Why Companies See Work From Home As A Viable Option:

About two-thirds of the 4.3 million IT BPO workforce across the country has shifted to the work-from-home model to keep services uninterrupted during the lockdown. Thus, many companies see Work From Home as a viable option. India considers WFH as a new constant as it involves cost savings, convenience, and productivity gains if implemented correctly.

REASON 1 : Eliminating Long Commutes

Long commute causes stress and makes employees drowsy. Booking a cab, driving a car, or using public conveyance wastes a lot of time. The problem of traffic jams especially in metro cities make the routine hectic. Thus, Work from home is an effective model eliminating long commutes.

REASON 2 : Effective Cost Cutting

Gone will be the days of the westernized office post the pandemic. If most of your team is working from home, you won’t need to pay for larger premises, saving money on rent and utilities. Whether it is providing a cafeteria service or refreshments during meetings, if you have remote employees, this will reduce the cost to the company.

REASON 3 : Enhances Employee Productivity

A Standford Study found that remote workers are 13% more productive when compared to their in-office counterparts. Remote workers are not distracted by their co-workers. Additionally, they do not have the stress of the morning rush. Employees feel more relaxed in-home environment. Thus, increasing employee productivity.

REASON 4 : Lower Absenteeism

Working from home is the best viable option for reducing absenteeism among employees. Work from home gives them the flexibility to set their own routine. Thus, this allows them to manage their work without taking full day leaves, therefore reducing absenteeism.

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Here’s What Companies Say:

  • Rajesh Gopitnathan, CEO of TCS said, “We don’t believe that we need more than 25 percent of our workforce at our facilities in order to be 100 percent productive.
  • Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg said, “I think that it’s possible that over the next five to 10 years — maybe closer to 10 than five, but somewhere in that range — I think we could get to about half of the company working remotely permanently.”
  • Wipro chairman, Rishad Premji said, “We will increasingly leverage more technology to onboard, induct, train and engage with our employees, and our workforce will never come back to a 100% work from office mode.”
A Gartner, Inc. survey of 317 CFOs and Finance leaders on March 30, 2020, revealed that 74% will move at least 5% of their previously on-site workforce to permanently remote positions post-COVID 19.
SOURCE: Gartner

Reasons Why Office Sounds Better!

However, not all companies are gungho about work from home. There are various reasons why the office sounds better. Work from Home does not seem to be a complete win-win situation. Let’s check out the possible reasons:

REASON 1: Implementing a Remote Workforce Is Too Big of a Change

If you already have a functioning office in place, then making changes to your office to allow your staff to work from home would be a major undertaking. Perhaps too big of a change for an employer to be comfortable with, especially if you’ve spent years developing and setting up the office. Many employees may not have a spare room at home for long term WFH. They may not have required infrastructure like broadband connection, power backup, etc.

REASON 2: Lack Of Control

An employee that is not in an office is more complex to controḷ. By having all the employees in the office, a manager can efficiently handle its team making sure everyone is on the task. However, Work from home gives them more flexibility as there is no one to keep an eye.

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REASON 3: Data Security

However, one of the major issues to be addressed by companies shifting to a work-from-home policy is cybersecurity. The primary concern of most corporates, what complicates the matter is the need to ensure the security of client data in a Work from home scenario. Thus, the security of data becomes a major challenge while remote working.

REASON 4 : Fewer Social Interactions

Why a person goes to a restaurant when he can cook at home? This is because human is a social animal and thus needs social interactions. Meeting great minds helps in brainstorming and makes a person more creative and curious. Therefore work from the home model will make people dull and depressive due to less social interactions.

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Here’s What Companies say:

  • Work from home hasn’t evolved much in India“, says Neetish Sarda, founder of co-working company Smartworks.
  • The CEO and MD of TCS, Rajesh Gopinathan,says: “We power financial backbones of several countries, support some of the largest healthcare and pharmacy companies in the world, run technology for governments and public services organizations.”
  • Manish Dalal, managing director, Asia Pacific, Endurance International Group says,” The absence of water cooler conversations, impromptu meetings and cafeteria discussions with colleagues could impact productivity. We want to make sure we don’t lose the human touch
A study conducted by Microsoft reveals sustained concentration in video meetings leads to fatigue
SOURCE: Microsoft

CONCLUSION

The global shift to remote work has created both opportunities as well as challenges for both the companies and the employees. On the pros side work from home helps to enhance employee productivity. Moreover, working from home as a family has created more empathy among the employees. This has created a balance between work and family life. However, On the contrary, remote work can lead to elongated working hours, meeting fatigue, and missed in social interactions. Work from home can be an effective new normal if the challenges are overcome.

Vanshika Sharma
About author

Heya Peeps! I am a management student keen to explore what's happening around and writing about it!
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