The ‘Covid-19’ made rounds of the news until few weeks before as an epidemic affecting several nations. India seemed to have been spared for a long time. The sudden outbreak in India and the multiplicative nature of the pandemic has led to a sudden shutdown of many businesses, small and large.
While many businesses have no choice in this regard, few are surviving this unanticipated situation by operating remotely, working from home, conducting meetings through video conferencing and avoiding physical meeting situations to the highest extent.
The question is, whether India is ready for a remote working culture?
Work from home is suitable for work cultures involving usage of laptops, the Internet and telecom services, like media, advertising (to some extent), IT, marketing, e-tailing, advisory, etc. Also professionals who deliver counselling can make excellent use of video conferencing.
Since most of their work involves communication, the growth of technology plays a pivotal role, enabling multiple communication devices to be handy. Manufacturing, logistics, transport, energy, construction, retail or other machine, manpower or process related sectors require personal and personnel involvement.
There is no way these sectors could function with a work from home model for employees. However, in courier companies, a partial WFM setup can be established, where the head office and administration staff would work from home, and the delivery boys would work on the field.
India is capable of working from home, given the availability of the decent Internet speeds all over the country, communication and available technology, localising the tracking mechanism. The technological boom has enabled us to run global empire of businesses and hold multiple global conference, all while sitting in a private study.
The very first issue raises in the mind of every superior is how to trust an employee for WFH? Firstly, trust is something that is established over time. Working from home should not be a factor to assess the trust factor in your employees.
Studies have shown that when employees work in a familiar, comfortable environments, there is a higher possibility of a boost in their performance. Given the current situation with coronavirus, employers have no option, but to trust their employees. Employers can deploy the use of various technology such as portable thin clients to monitor employees’ performance in work. Asking for regular updates is the best way to check on the productivity.
Challenges faced through WFH
The biggest impact that working from home would have is human bonding. The growth in one’s personality, the exposure attained at a workplace, ideation resulting out of brainstorming sessions, would be, in some essence, lost in work from home programmes. There would be a lack in “fun with colleague” experiences and office social cultures, which builds the DNA of any organization.
Merits of WFH
Working from home has merits for both, employers and employees. For employers: having a WFH programme saves on office space and other office expenses, thereby creating opportunities to utilise capital resources for expanding their business to new avenues.
For employees, in major cities where commuting consumes a major time, working from home would be a lucrative offer, working from home would also suite someone whole suffers social anxiety and loves to work in isolation, just like the virus currently demands of you.
With its set of merits and challenges, remote working due to this pandemic has definitely instilled a sense of belongingness amongst the office colleagues and has given an unanticipated break to many, from daily commute and work routines.
— Aaqyl Chagla, CEO Rapid Delivery