Coronavirus could spark a revolution in working from home. Are we ready?
Companies around the world are asking people to work out of home. India is no different. Reportedly, Twitter, Adobe, Facebook, Dell, Flipkart, SAP in Pune and many other companies are keen that their employees work but work from their own spaces in the light of COVID 19. But are people used to this? Or are even companies used to this? As per The Conversation, NASA sites across the US have been testing their work-from-home capabilities. In Dublin, Google sent 8,000 workers home for a day to trial an extended remote-work scenario after one employee came down with flu-like symptoms. In Australia, Clayton Utz, Cisco and Vodafone temporarily closed offices last week as a precautionary measure. In India, most companies have banned non-essential travel.
How does it work?
In most cases in India employees are being given an “option” to work from home, while site services and business will remain the same. With the rising cases of coronavirus, cloud services firm Zoho Corp has asked its employees to work from home as a matter of precaution, a top official has said, as per Economics Times report.
“We have adopted work from home as the default for all our offices worldwide as a matter of precaution, though we have not had any cases,” they further quoted their Founder-CEO Sridhar Vembu.
On March 9th, NASSCOM used its official Twitter handle tweeted “In light of #Coronavirus outbreak, we strongly request @DoT_India to waive off restrictions around work from home under the OSP regime. This is critical to mitigate any potential threats to employees as well as ensure business continuity.” To which their President Debjani Ghosh reiterated her concern, “This is a huge threat to business continuity and employee safety. We request @DoT_India for urgent help”, through a tweet.
How does productivity change?
The Conversation quotes a research that suggests work from home benefits including increased productivity, rated by both the employees and supervisors. One study showed a 13% increase in performance for employees working from home.
Benefits of working from home?
As we realize that only abundant caution is what can save us from catching the virus, it is a good move to allow people to work from home as it will reduce the time they spend in public areas. However, for traditional Indian companies face time at workplace is highly valued. Can the COVID 19 scare change this mindset?
“I am glad it’s forcing people to move to work from home. This is best time to figure out how to make it work. Because most traditional companies don’t believe in WFH and think people will have fun. This will make or break their mindset,” said Payel* 35, to SheThePeople who works for an FMCG company.
One study showed a 13% increase in performance for employees working from home.
Here’s a look at the major advantages of working from home.
- Flexible timings. Comfort of flexible hours, options to take breaks, and no rush to reach.
- Comfortable environment. Your home, cafe, your personal level of noise and comfort.
- Cleanliness. One sets one’ standard of clean and hygienic environment
- Avoid contact with crowds at a time of widespread diseases.
- Easy clothes. You get to wear those pyjamas.
- It’s easier to make calls. Though only if you don’t have your children screaming about.
- Take breaks. Go do the laundry. Go wash hands again. Go get a stretch.
- No office distractions. No gathering at the watering hole.
* Name changed on request.