The accelerated shift from physical to digital, throws up both challenges and opportunities. A survey unearthed that both the firms and employees are unhappy with WFH. So now the question is -will the old office order return post the pandemic? The long-term outlook is work from office or a blended model where a minority works out of home. A number of companies are gearing towards adopting hybrid working models. At the same time, many say that they were not comfortable joining back yet because our neighbourhood had COVID cases. Our work was getting done from home and output wasn’t a problem. This is one of the reasons why many companies feel work from home will remain a slow-starter in India once the pandemic ends. Instead of being ‘the future of work’, WFH could become an alternative to fall back for business continuity.
It is evident that, even industries that were traditionally not IT-driven or had little dependence on IT are now adapting their businesses to the new normal as they feel the need for more agile digital solutions with a faster time to market. However, many companies’ plans to get employees back to offices in a phased manner, at the same time employees are also keen to rejoin offices. A hard fact is that, most of the office employees in India have missed working from office and cited a lack of personal interaction as the primary factor. There is also increasing recognition that prolonged work from home is leading to stress. Senior professionals, the more experienced, have greater anxiety issues and would much rather be in office than their younger colleagues.
Secondly, the lack of concentration worries executives as India Inc never had a culture of WFH and other major things have come up that is, work from home can give you the impression that productivity has improved. However, productivity could come down because of the diversion and distractions at home.
There are other bottlenecks that come on the technology and connectivity front, that is connectivity issues while connecting to the office server, which takes a long time to get fixed. As a result, workers have to extend their shift every day and work 10–12 hours. Besides family and Internet-related distractions, professionals also don’t have ergonomic furniture at home. Corporates do see WFH as an opportune model to rationalise expensive real estate rentals. In fact, there is a huge shift we are going to witness, that is nothing but is mathematics. Not only are rentals cut, companies save on employee transportation, and electricity costs as well as facilities management. With this now, many corporations and SMBs in India, started investing into the home infrastructures to provide to the employees including Furniture expenses and entire Computer related infrastructure with productivity monitoring tools, software for data protection.
Certain leadership feel that they are missing the buzz of the office, since the technology and product discussions often require working with multiple stakeholders and the ideas and innovations that come from meeting people, they are seriously missing while working from home. The fact is remote working has always been part of the e-commerce firm’s working culture well before the pandemic and now, this is the default option till end of 2020. Yes! These are challenging times for India Inc. Going ahead, those organisations that have young and trusting leadership might adapt quicker. But there would be organisations with leaders who are older. They may not trust a person at home. That level of maturity needs to sink in, in the coming days.