The global job market bore witness to a momentous shift in operations owing to the Covid-19 pandemic. Where work-from-home (WFH) was once a part-time perk offered to employees, it quickly became the status quo with the dawn of the new decade.
While 2020 was the year of remote work, the trend has continued into 2021. According to a survey conducted by Enterprise Technology Research, the percentage of workers around the world that is permanently working from home is expected to double in 2021.
This phenomenon transcends the current limitations around physical contact and social distancing regulations. According to a study conducted by Global Workplace Analytics, the number of part-time remote workers has grown by 140% since 2005 – about 10% per year on average.
As we inch our way closer to a sense of normalcy, employees and organisations alike are debating the WFH formula, and what the future holds.
While some are rushing to get back to the office, others are more hesitant to abandon the WFH routine. However, the general consensus revolves around a hybrid model, allowing for more flexibility between the home and the office. Let’s take a look at some pros and cons of WFH in India.
The WFH model effectively eliminates the need for long, stressful commutes, which have been observed to negatively impact employee welfare and productivity.
According to studies conducted in a pre-pandemic world, 4.4% of working-class professionals in India spent 1.45 to 2 hours travelling to work every morning, with the Travel Time Report Q1 2019 vs Q1 2018 stating that Indians spend 7% of their day commuting to the office, averaging less than 3 minutes per kilometre.
One of the major benefits of WFH from the perspective of employees and employers alike is the elimination of these long hours spent commuting, allowing for more time devoted to the work at hand.
On the other hand, WFH presents unique challenges in a nation such as India, where the lines between the personal and the professional can sometimes become blurred.
From the responsibilities of living in large, joint families to locations with poor infrastructure and internet access, communication tools such as video conferencing are often inadequate when compared to the ease of a physical workspace.
According to a survey, the recent uptick of remote workers is in part due to rising rates of employee productivity in a WFH setting. 12. 86% of employees feel that working remotely reduces stress, owing to a better diet, more exercise, reduced or eliminated commute time, and a generally healthier lifestyle.
However, while a full-time remote working model is an effective strategy for independent freelancers, some would argue that it is not conducive to collaboration and teamwork.
Lacking a centralized office space, simple communication between employees has proved far more challenging. According to a global survey conducted by Buffer, 20% of remote workers identify communication and collaboration as an obstacle, with loneliness and an unhealthy work-life balance being the next most popular responses.
The WFH model allows for higher rates of talent retention and lower staff attrition, with single parents and skilled professionals who cannot commute being recruited and retained at higher rates.
In fact, according to a recent survey by FlexJobs, 76% of workers stated that they would be more willing to stay with their current employer if they could work flexible hours, with a lowered 25% employee turnover rate being observed in companies that allow remote work as opposed to those that don’t, according to data from Owl Labs’ State of Remote Work report.
On the other hand, WFH has disrupted the standard of social interaction at the workplace, with loneliness becoming a global mental health concern in the pandemic era. This is especially evident in the case of millennial workers, for whom corporate IT and business parks double as social hubs, armed with amenities and services designed to attract and retain talent.
While WFH may not continue in the manner that it has over the last year, especially for warehouse operations and brick and mortar retail businesses, the benefits of remote work are undeniable, and the future will likely see more and more organisations adopting a more flexible, hybrid model.
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