Remote working for employees simply means working from anywhere. Remote working is rapidly gaining prominence as companies begin to adopt flexible working models. This has largely become possible due to the advent of the digital age and access to technology. Today, all that the workforce needs for remote work are access to the internet, which has become omnipresent, and a few tools that help communicate and monitor productivity. India, till very recently, hadn’t joined the remote working bandwagon.
However, with increasing calls for better work-life balance, the tide can be expected to change soon. According to a Randstad survey, 53% of respondents from India prefer working from home. Men (52%) and women (54%) were supportive of work from home policies in equal measures, with 45+ years old employees showing a higher preference. The future of remote working in India can be considered positive as many countries in the West have already embraced that.
In the Indian context, benefits of working remotely are many, especially for top cities like Mumbai, Delhi or Bengaluru, where people spend a large amount of their time traveling to their workplaces. Companies can even reduce their overhead costs by promoting remote working. With its staggering population, India has a huge workforce, much of which comprises young adults. The entry of millennials and generation Z is changing the dynamics of the business world. Millennials and generation Z have their own philosophy of work, which is in stark contrast to their previous generations. Besides seeking more recognition and autonomy in their work, millennials today prefer flexible working options.
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In the present situation, when the entire world is suffering from the coronavirus pandemic, the call to work remotely has gained a lot of prominence. Businesses have no choice as the cities and countries around the world are going into a forced lockdown to prevent the spread of the deadly virus. This has largely come as a shocker to many businesses that were never prepared for such a scenario. While it is true that not every business operation can be shifted to remote working, it is equally important for companies to plan and identify what works. The effects of Coronavirus are deadly, both for humans and the global economy. But it gives companies a good chance to test their remote working models and identify the outcomes in terms of productivity, reduction of overhead costs, etc.
However, it can be a typical concern for business owners to worry about the productivity of employees who choose to work from home. There are fears that employees would mix their personal life during their working hours due to which their productivity wouldn’t be as desired. Besides this, there are also concerns that the traditional learning environment that a workplace offers would no longer be available if employees prefer to work remotely. It is also true that not every business can be readily shifted to a remote working model. While these factors do need a second thought, a detailed analysis to propose workable solutions can help India shape and plan the future of work to stay prepared during such unforeseen calamities. These concerns hold the key to the future of remote working.
Businesses must move towards adopting more flexibility in terms of approach and work principles. For any business to be successful, the management must trust its workforce, which is its core function. Instilling faith in the employees who work remotely can not only motivate them but also encourage them to exceed the expectations of their employers because they trust them. To start with, companies can try out remote working department-wise or for some of the members of a particular team. It can’t get better than experimenting on your own business to find out the positives and shortcomings. If the results are encouraging, it would present a great case for company-wide implementation. Work from home has benefits for both employers and employees, thus opening vast avenues for the future of remote working.
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- Is It Time to Let Employees Work from Anywhere? hbr.org, 14 Aug 2019
- Remote Work in India: A New Normal?, worldwideerc.org, 09 Aug 2018
- 1 in 2 indian employees prefer telecommuting: Randstad survey, randstad.in