A few years ago, with the advancement of technology, there was a rising trend about concepts like 'remote working', 'laptop lifestyle', etc. These working styles were already becoming normal in the Western side of the world while slowly getting popular in Eastern nations.
I remember being added to various social media groups where many frustrated employees ranted about the soul-sucking office environment and shared memes about how half of their lives passed in traveling. Everyone dreamt of being able to work from home or anywhere they wanted & it seemed like a luxury rather than a provision.
But then, in 2020, the pandemic happened! Who knew the work culture that many people dreamt about would become less of a want and more of a need? Since then, the term' work from home' has received lots of mixed reviews and opinions.
More than a year has passed to date and the work culture still doesn't seem like it's getting back on track. While many companies have already announced in advance that they will be adopting this model for another 1 year, few others are trying their best to bring their employees back in the office.
But before directly getting into, "Will work from home still be continued in India in 2022?" (or even after that) - Let's shed some light on what outcomes are seen by this new work culture & how companies, as well as employees, are approaching it.
Perks of Working From Home
If the model was dreamt of before and is preferred currently, there should be numerous benefits. It could be a win-win situation for both employers & employees. So let's take a look at some of the benefits of working from home.
- Safety is where this began. Thus, post covid, the biggest benefit of work from home is safety.
- Better work-life balance as you get to spend more time with your family.
- You don't have to worry about your daily commute, which completely ditches the traffic & travel stress.
- There is a great sense of independence about location & workspace. You don't have to stick with the same desk or the same cabin daily.
- There are savings on money mainly due to cutting down on traveling and extra expenditures like having food or snacks outside.
- Brings down the infrastructural costs for the organization or a company.
Why Do Many Organizations Prefer Hiring Remote Workers?
Organizations don't prefer hiring remote workers only because employees want to avoid the daily commute or spend more time with their families. However, there are many benefits to working remotely. And the increased number of remote-friendly jobs proves that organizations are now embracing this trend.
Firstly organizations can avail the flexibility of being able to hire almost any candidate irrespective of their residential locations, which opens up the entire country (or the world for that matter) for the companies and find best fitting talents for the respective positions.
Secondly, organizations can cut down huge costs that go up on infrastructure and travel allowances. Saving up on these costs will leave with fatter profits for the organization, which can be utilized elsewhere.
Challenges of Working From Home
Not everything is a sweet tale and thus, with numerous benefits comes numerous challenges. Let's look at what downsides are being faced due to the long-term continuation of the model.
- You get a feeling of isolation that takes a toll on your mental health.
- Employers may take you for granted, which might result in overworking.
- Work from home is a double-edged sword when it comes to productivity. Either it can increase or can hugely decrease due to tons of distractions.
- There is a sense of disconnect from the workplace & a huge drop in exchanging of ideas, co-worker interactions, etc., that may lower the motivation and harm the individual growth.
- May result in physical inactivity, which results in poor health.
- Not all work is computer work. Many jobs require employees to be present physically at the workspace. Such industries suffer a lot.
Why Do Some Companies Still Prefer to Have Employees on-site?
While working from home offers a lot of benefits to companies and employees, there are still a lot of companies that won't hire people who work from home. Many people think it's just a matter of time before every company goes remote, but that might not be the case.
There are many reasons why some companies prefer to have employees on-site, and it's not just because of the cost of having them work from home. There are some industries where it isn't possible to work from home due to the nature of work, and there are some other companies need their employees on-site to ensure that they are happy and productive.
Few types of Industries that would not afford to go completely remote are -
- Automobile Industries
- Medical & Healthcare Industry
- Arts & Entertainment Industry
- Government Offices
- Banking Industry
- Real Estate & Construction Industry
- Any industry that requires the operation of machinery
How Will Companies Overcome These Challenges?
Despite the pros and cons of working from home, it is more of a need of an hour, as I mentioned earlier. However, it's not a want or a luxury anymore. Thus, to overcome the challenges, companies have started taking various steps that can make this model sustainable for at least a year or two to come.
The Hybrid Model
The hybrid model allows only partial employees to show up at the workspace on certain days and the other part to show up on other days. This keeps up with the safety guidelines as issued by the Governments and keeps the employees engaged and motivated. Therefore, the stagnancy of isolation can be easily overcome by this model.
In other companies where a physical workforce is required, this hybrid model was seen to be modified a bit. For example, in the Automobile sector, the Assembly Line engineers and technical staff were asked for 100% physical attendance, whereas the automation, marketing, and management guys were still asked to keep working from home.
Thus, considering that it is going to require at least a couple of years for the world to come out from this pandemic situation (or who knows when?) - the hybrid model seems more promising and a win-win model for both employees and employers.
When we see that the biggest challenge of employees working remotely is the feeling of isolation and taking a toll on their mental health, co-working places can be a sweet spot.
Co-working places are the places which are well equipped with all the facilities required for someone with a profile of desk job to be able to work. These places are shared amongst a lot of different people from different companies. They were earlier popular amongst the freelancers but due to the changing work culture, a lot of employees who are on work from home routine are also seen using these.
A new trend was seen in the metro cities called 'walk to work', which consisted of choosing a workplace walking distance away from home over working at home or traveling far to the office.
As it is impractical to find a whole new organization like that to work, it made sense to choose a co-working place instead. But again, maintaining proper safety guidelines at such places became another issue that beat down remote work's whole purpose.
Future of Remote Work in India
The practice of remote work in India became mainstream solely due to the pandemic and the COVID19 guidelines issued by the Governments. As time passes and the vaccination drives are successfully taking place, the regulations may loosen up. However, few companies have already started to open up with 50% occupancy.
But this doesn't mean that things will be exactly how they were before. For example, work from home didn't go anywhere in 2021 and will not go anywhere in 2022.
With the mixed responses from employees and employers, as I mentioned above, there will surely be some reformation & initiatives taken by the organizations to overcome the challenges being faced in work from home culture and come up with some solution to make it sustainable.
But one thing is for sure. We are already adapting to the new culture and it is going to stay in practice for years to come.
The New Normal?
While it is true that the trend of working from home started after the COVID19 pandemic, it proved as a testing phase for companies, not only in India but across the globe.
While the world has suffered terribly because of the pandemic and it is not something we would have wished for, but when it comes to having a shift in the working lifestyle, it won't be an exaggeration to say that it served as a boon in disguise.
If you are on a hunt for a new job, make sure you prepare yourself for the remote fulfillment so that you give your best.
Suppose you are someone who is an employer or an owner of the organization. In that case, you should probably start brainstorming on how you are going to keep your employees motivated and engaged while they work from their home in their shorts remotely.
And if you are someone who is an employee and already working in the company remotely, then become used to the Zoom calls and video conferences as that is going to be your new normal in 2022!
So what do you think about our opinion? Do you have anything to add up? Or maybe you have a completely different perspective about the topic. Then go ahead and let me know in the comment section below so that we can keep the conversation going.