One of the most drastic shifts that resulted in the after math of the Covid-19 outbreak is the immediate initiation of the Work From Home protocol mandated by corporates across the globe. In India it’s been over two months now, and remote-working has become the new reality. Though it was initiated as a temporary measure, many companies are planning to adapt it on a large scale. Twitter made the headlines to make WFH permanent for its employees; TCS too has already announced that it contemplates 75% of their employees to work from home by 2025; other companies like Infosys and Wipro are also planning to follow suit.
On the other hand, the employees themselves seem to have more than embraced this new norm. The lockdown has freed them from the everyday battle with traffic, time-consuming commute, fear of pay-cuts for being five minutes late, overtime and late-nights at work, disruption of family time, etc. And this acceptance clearly reflects in the recently conducted research by Buzzinga Digital, a research-first, integrated communications agency.
The online survey was conducted in an attempt to understand the behavioral and professional changes the Work From Home (WFH) culture is revealing for India’s workforce. The pan-India study surveyed close to 500 industry professionals, across the spectrum – IT, SME, automobile, agriculture, telecom, etc. Almost 80% of the respondents belong to the age group of 25-44, with majority of them residing in metropolitan cities like Mumbai, Pune, Bangalore, Delhi NCR, Hyderabad, Chennai, and Kolkata. This insight into the ‘Millennial-Mindset’, during India’s largest Work From the Home experiment, revealed the following –
- 50% are optimistic about working from home and 30% don’t feel any change
- 55% find social-isolation a big hurdle
- 63% said their e-relationship with co-workers is either excellent or very good
- 75% say the biggest motivation to continue to WFH is not commuting
- More than 60% feel they work more hours when working from home
It’s evident that better logistical support from companies, processes, and favorable WFH policies has the power to turn the scales in favor of WFH. This could, however, severely impact the commercial real estate market but save crores in office rental costs for enterprises.
As corporate India stays at home, it has become evident that they were exhausted of the daily traffic and commute and also starved of family time with as many as 75% and 40% choosing 'absence of travel' and extra family time, respectively, as motivators to continue working from home.
Despite working more hours from home than they would in office majority said they could adapt this as a permanent lifestyle change. Having said that, 75% of respondents also said they missed face-to-face interactions with colleagues.
The study also tried to get an insight into the post lockdown/post-COVID-19 scenario and when working professionals return to their offices. About 60% said they wouldn’t want to come into the office more than 2-3 times a week, while 10% categorically stated that they don’t like the idea of going back to an office at all.
When asked if a curfew, as a permanent fixture in the calendar, would be acceptable, almost 70% replied positively with 50% showing a willingness to follow it once a week. A large group of those surveyed cite environmental reasons as a primary reason to accept a curfew – 77.02% believe it’s good for the ecosystem and 61.49% opine that it will reduce our collective carbon footprint.
Overall, the survey indicates that WFH can potentially be the next big shift in India’s work culture. Companies that have conducted their business in traditional office spaces have been the hardest hit due to lockdown restrictions. However, to avoid a similar fate in the future, these firms are likely to embrace digitization.
For employees, this may herald a massive change in how they work. As of now, the success of the WFH experiment is a matter of speculation, but time will tell. However, it is our best bet until the COVID-19 pandemic ends and before the lockdown is lifted.
For complete details of the research click here: The Work From Home Study