A revolution in waiting
Arjun Singh Rathore
A revolution in waiting attending an important meeting with your boss from the comfort of your home while relaxing in your bed supporting our boxers, is the new revolution in our work culture.
Well, a lot has already been said and written about the nationwide lockdown that began on March 25 in the world’s largest democracy. All of the commercial establishments, except those providing essential services such as grocery stores, hospitals, medical shops, banks, ATMs, etc. were shut down and all the Corporate junkies introduced a new work culture in Indian market ‘Work from Home’.
Working from Home happens to be a blessing in disguise especially for those who had to travel a distance to their workplace in the scorching heat of summers with Covid in air, resulting in a considerable reduction in the work time. The companies are going hammer and tongs in a bid to reshape and restructure the 9 to 5 work routine. The Coronavirus pandemic has forced corporate around the globe to remodel their working strategies. Digital disruption seems to have found a new lease of life amid the ongoing pandemic.
Thanks to the lords for cheaper internet connectivity, all of the online communication tools are making things happen for the office goers. So, don’t be surprised if our employees ask us to work from our comfort zone on a permanent basis in the near future. This comes as a breath of fresh air for working women. A number of young working mothers are getting to spend time at home with newborns. Also, they are no longer required to follow the 9 to 5 routine and can work as and when they want to. Not to forget, travelling to work happens to be an expensive affair. An average Indian is saving nearly 8 to 10k on travelling expenses by working from home.
The Coronavirus pandemic has forced a trail run of remote working, and employers and their staff have found it doesn’t have the downsides some expected
Many companies could continue to have some staff work from home after the health crisis, allowing them to cut costs and spend less on renting office space.
Millions are working from home because of the Coronavirus, without any fears of a drop in productivity haven’t been realised.
Around the world, as people yearn for a “return to normal”, many are recognising that some things will never be the same and that might be a good thing. Hong Kong was in the first wave of cities shifting to working from home to curb the spread of Covid-19. Employees were thrown in the deep end, left struggling with technology and how to carve out a quiet workspace at home. The thing about being thrown in the deep end is that most of the time people learn how to swim pretty quickly. With the whole of the world in lockdown, we experienced a trail run of a remote workforce on a grand scale. There has been plenty of teething problems, but just as many creative solutions.
Covid-19 has been the catalyst to prove that working from home is an effective option. The outbreak shows that changes can be made to the traditional model of working. Companies can take inspiration not only from others in their industry, but also from everyone around them. The closure of schools has seen teachers come up with innovative ways of engaging students online. Social distancing has pushed friends into devising inventive ways of using technology to stay close.
In India we are known for having an old-school, “Bums-on-Seats culture”, the assumption is that employees are only working if they are in the office where the Boss can see them. This culture of Presenteeism, replaced with remote workplace, will definitely result in removing the problem of Absenteeism.
The attitude of many years has been that remote working isn’t possible, there are concerns about absenteeism. But now companies have to chuck the rule book out the window and make things work. Many companies will emerge from the pandemic having lost money and will be looking for savvy cost-saving opportunities, whether it be working in a more effective way or using less office space. The lockdown has pushed some sectors out of their comfort zones to try something new. It’s never a pleasant experience, but it can lead to change for the better. The number one excuse – a decrease in productivity, has gone. In fact productivity is increased; satisfaction is increased with employee turnover going down. Now we have a healthier workforce with less absenteeism and the companies have the privilege to attract and retain top talent because this is what millennials want.
Families in India have very successfully adapted to online shopping followed by online education and are fast expected of adapting to remote working ‘The Work from Home’. Working from home can have pitfalls. A 2019 global study found that loneliness was the second most reported challenge (19percent), after difficulty of unplugging from work (22 percent). Loneliness can make people feel less motivated and less productive. The same people are scared and anxious about this new work culture, but what we need is Trust and the companies need to figure it out quickly. No one is suggesting a move towards an entirely remote workforce. The last couple of months have proved there are drawbacks to working from home, including the potential lack of human contact. We can’t have an organisation where 100 percent of people are working from home. People still need to see each other and create bonds and person-to-person connections.
Covid-19 has driven a major reconsideration of how professional and managerial, “White-collar”, work, with centralized, high-density open office floor plans presenting a major risk of mass spreading events, knowledge workers have been logging in from home. Large social changes like the end of the office carry costs, benefits and risks which are not evenly shared by all the stakeholders involved. Before declaring a post-pandemic revolution towards remote work, workers, employers and anyone else impacted by such a shift should think carefully about all of its implications.
(The author is Executive Manager & Branch Head at JK Bank Marble Market, Jammu)