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Sep 21, 2017 02:50 PM IST | Source: Moneycontrol.com

Working from home? Companies are warming up to the idea, but at slow pace

While working from home isn't a norm in the Indian market, it is slowly becoming an accepted norm among companies.

 
 
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Susan D’souza, a 31-year-old woman working from home in Mumbai for a global news outlet based out of United States, often misses going to office and having a pow-wow with her colleagues. She says that the work load is exactly the same as it would be in an office setup. According to her, the ability to work from home is something that is entirely based on individual personalities.

While working from home isn't a norm in the Indian market, it is slowly becoming an accepted norm among companies. Human resource experts are of the view that corporates are ready to give the flexibility based on the job role, though numbers may remain small.

Aditya Narayan Mishra, CEO, CIEL HR Services, said that acceptance rates are quite high now. "Out of the 5-6 crore jobs in the formal sector, about 2-3 percent work from home. We have seen project managers in IT companies working from home because teams are also spread apart," he added.

Narayan explained that the way people are viewing work from home is changing. However, he said that in some roles it is not possible especially where you need to sit around and discuss, or in areas like hospitality or aviation.

Tech giant IBM which was a pioneer in introducing the work from home concept rolled it back earlier this year for a section of its employees as per a WSJ report.

A senior HR executive with a large services company is re-think this policy after that reports emerged that the work-from-home facility was being misused by some across the organisation.

"Majority of formal workers have a desk job with duties assigned by reporting managers and teams to manage. While a company may be open to relaxing norms for an emergency, it can never be made official," he said.

In places like Mumbai and Bangalore, an individual may spend 3 hours on an average commuting. However, HR officials said that this alone cannot be a reason to offer work from home.

Organisations like banks have this facility for new mothers where they can work from home to avoid the long commute hours. However, for branch banking roles such facilities are not offered since these employees are required to have a physical presence.

In March 2016, ICICI Bank had launched an initiative that allows women employees to work from home for up to a year. This initiative allows women employees to have access to their required operating systems in a safe and secure manner, creating a seamless office-like environment.

Rituparna Chakraborty, Executive Vice President, TeamLease Services, said that for roles which depend on individual performance, you can manage from home. "If it is a startup, for example, work from home may not be the right thing to do, since facetime is very critical for collaboration in a new establishment," she added.

As per a Microsoft Asia Workplace 2020 Study, a large number of the Gen X and millennial workforce in India are open to digital workspaces, value work-life integration (rather than work-life separation), and are embracing flexi workstyles that enable them to be mobile professionals with a personalized way of how they work and live.

In fact, adoption of practices and advanced technology that enable flexi-work and collaboration have been ranked as the #1 and #2 reasons for joining and staying in an organization.
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