COVID-19: The Silver Lining
Amidst the chaos and fear surrounding the novel COVID-19, the pandemic has brought about a positive side of it. Well, the world is now all over it and probably will continue so, for the benefit it brings along. Yes, folks! It is the silver lining of Work From Home (WFH) advantage that we are talking about.
Though work from home has been there since the beginning of humankind, it took a pandemic to prove its utility and effectiveness, especially for India Inc. This sudden transition has immensely changed the face of business. What was thought as a necessity primarily for women to manage work-life priorities, it is proving to be an absolute must for organisations to manage business disruptions and continuity.
Several companies including Working Mother & Avtar 100 Best Companies for Women in India (BCWI) were better prepared to handle this challenge, because of their innate flexi-friendliness. As per its studies, 76% of companies support remote work and 98% provide the benefit of flexi-time. This is not limited to the women, but is also available for its male workforce as well, who are successfully utilizing it at the rate of 68% (as against the 70% by women).
Technology has largely contributed to the advancement and success of remote working. It has ensured that people are more connected than physically, for team meetings as well as coffee breaks. Talking of which, there is a new trend among the techies to connect with peers virtually, over a cup of coffee! Yes, it brings in team spirit, collaboration, and cooperation within the team virtually. The popular software Zoom app has enabled even start-ups to remote work, with its free access to services for 40 minutes. This 40 minute comes with several advantages: A limited time team meeting with communication done effectively, leaving space for a synergetic work environment without any time-lapse. Thus, a simple, cost-cutting, high attendance working day!
Now coming back home, what has this situation brought along? Nothing less than more family time and significant productivity increase! If work from home is institutionalised, it will also enable men to spend more time at home and play an active role in home and family care. It will help break many misconceptions and stereotypes associated with work from home and care giving being the primary responsibility of women. It will also create more job opportunities for People with Disabilities. India’s poor infrastructure and transport systems curtail the mobility of People with Disabilities and create several hardships for them to travel on a daily basis.
Avtar, working towards a diverse and inclusive work environment, stresses the importance of flexibility through its tool Flexcurity, to enable a standardized approach for facilitating flexible working. The tool identifies and assesses jobs for creating flexible working model. A well thought out and systematic approach will remove the stigma surrounding WFH benefits and employees misusing the facility.
We have to wait and see what happens once we get back to normalcy after the pandemic is over- whether work from home is here to stay or not. Hoping for the best!