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The old normal has given way to the new and WFH, an acronym that was born in the lockdown and quickly became part of everyday lexicon, is here to stay, at least for the foreseeable future. Now, almost six months later, the pandemic still rages, and the work from home arrangement that started as a temporary fix is set to continue in many companies, to the delight of some and dismay of others.
As millions of professionals strive for the optimum work-life balance in extraordinary times when they have been confined to their homes, industry giants as well as start-ups have told their employees to continue to be there. Finance analyst Rishabh Maheshwari is saving on four hours of commute from his home in Gurgaon to his office in Noida.
He has been using the extra hours to work out, and also prepare for a certification exam later in the year. It has allowed me to be flexible with my time. My productivity at work too has increased.
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I would like if the choice to work from home is flexible even after the pandemic," Maheshwari said. She is tired of working in isolation with no demarcation between weekdays and weekends and no workplace interaction. Add to this the stress of the uncertain COVID situation and no clear end in sight, and she seems quite done. But it has been six months. All days are the same. I am really looking forward to ing back and being able to say, 'Thank God it's Friday' at the end of a work week," the year-old Gurgaon-based corporate communications professional said.
That the precautionary measure, India's lockdown started on March 25, would continue for six months and counting was unfathomable.
Make it easy
As India's COVID tally surges, it crossed 52 lakh with 96, people testing positive in a day, according to the Union Health Ministry on Friday, companies big and small are also calculating the pros and cons and tweaking their work rules. The trigger for the WFH introduction might have been the risk of contracting the infection, but one major reason for its prolonged continuation is companies saving on real estate costs.
Food aggregator Zomato, which has reportedly shut of over offices worldwide during the lockdown, said real estate has been one of its "highest recurring expenses". Also looking at WFH as a permanent solution is Cars24, a platform for buying and selling used cars that currently has 60 per cent of its staff working from home.
The company said it felt confident about the decision, particularly after "the tremendous hike in the Happiness Index" as well as the productivity matrix of its employees during the lockdown. There has been a growth in discipline among the employees. For instance, meetings start on time. In the last couple of months, several other companies have ed the 'continued WFH' bandwagon.
While search engine giant Google has said its employees will continue to work from home till June 30,social media behemoths Twitter and Facebook declared that remote working could continue "forever". For those who cannot sustain work from home, offices will "be their warm and welcoming selves, with some additional precautions", the company said. Home grown multinational IT company Tata Consultancy Services is also looking at an office model in which only one-fourth of its employee force will be required to come to office byaccording to the TCS Annual Report For many, the 'semi permanent' shift to work from home means the limbo continues and also that they need to make sure infrastructure at home is as efficient as that in the office.
Anish Choudhary, a public relations professional who got stuck in his hometown in Talcher, Odisha, after the lockdown was announced said he has been working hours a day.
Getting real about customer delight: the strategy of emotional outcomes
I am now spending somewhere around hours in front of the screen managing team meeting calls, sudden client changes and abrupt timelines," he said. Non-availability of high speed internet and 24X7 electricity is a big hindrance," Choudhary, whose PR firm is based out of Delhi, added.
For companies, the challenge is keeping employees connected with each other despite the distance. Working remotely has conspicuously reduced informal interactions between colleagues, almost eliminating the workplace social culture.
The diluted definition of customer delight
Poornima Singh, an HR professional at a Noida-based multinational, said a lot of her colleagues have been availing the 'work from office' option too. They feel their productivity will increase as they move away from their regular boredom and usual schedule at their homes," she said.
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They do not represent the views or opinions of newindianexpress. Salman Khan files defamation complaint against actor Kamaal Khan. Home Nation. Delight for some, dismay for others as WFH here to stay for many companies The old normal has given way to the new and WFH, an acronym that was born in the lockdown and quickly became part of everyday lexicon, is here to stay, at least for the foreseeable future.
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