Eighteen months is ample time for people to decide whether they prefer working from home or commuting to office every day. And the verdict is out: pulse surveys conducted by many IT, ITeS, and financial services companies prior to chalking out a back-to-work plan has revealed that most people – parents to even young millennials – are keen on working remotely.
Having had a taste of the flexibility that it offers, software engineer Saurabh Vyas plumped for remote work when his company sought to know where he would like to work out of office, home, or a combination. Over the last 18 months, Mr. Vyas switched between Bengaluru and his hometown Udaipur. The arrangement boosted his productivity. It also provided him the space to be with his elderly parents and be a more ‘present’ father to his son.
When the family shifted back to Udaipur, he found that his five-year-old required fewer visits to the doctor on account of respiratory illness, which was a bane when the family stayed in Bengaluru. “My son’s offline classes have begun but we have opted for online classes. Our office is not in a hurry to bring us back to the campus,” said Mr. Vyas.
A study by Dell Technologies last year found that a majority of employees in India were keen on working remotely for the long term, provided they had access to the right technology and received sufficient human resources support.
Work from home is clearly gaining more ground by the day. To cater to the increasing demand for a flexible working environment, LinkedIn recently launched tools to help job seekers highlight flexible work preferences and also learn about workplace policies.
For many employees with parental responsibilities, work from home has worked like a charm and they want it to continue ad infinitum . Reine Varghese and a majority of her team members exercised the permanent remote work option when her technology MNC offered the option last year.
She has no plans to return to her workplace. “Before COVID-19, I would wake up at 6 a.m. and attend to a laundry list of domestic responsibilities before dashing off to work,” she said. “I am able to spend more time with my daughter as I don’t waste two to three hours on my commute,” said Ms. Varghese.
Many startups and medium-sized companies with a younger workforce have taken a remote-first or fully-remote approach based on feedback collected from employees.
When Bengaluru-based startup KonfHub took an internal survey, they were surprised to see that only three of their 23 employees wanted to be back in the cabin. “And that included me and my co-founder, so there was no point in investing in office space,” said founder Ganesh Samarthyam.
They decided to give up their space on Outer Ring Road. “A majority of our employees are in their 20s. Besides the comfort of working from their hometown, not having to commute makes remote work attractive to them,” he added.
The arrangement has helped the company, so far. “We were able to grow fast as recruitment was easy. But, we are still discussing whether to continue remote work or investing in a space to meet occasionaly,” said Mr. Samarthyam.