June 18, 2020 Culture

‘Working From Home’ – The New Normal in the post-Corona world

The ongoing lockdown due to the Coronavirus pandemic has changed the way that businesses operate, giving rise to the popularity of ‘Work From Home’. In this blog, we explain how this new norm can be beneficial to an organization and its employees, and take a deep dive into the accompanying changes due to its adoption.

There has been a big impact on how the world functions since the lockdown, resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. This lockdown period has not only been unique, but also challenging. It has affected almost every industrial sector, to different degrees. Businesses of all types and scales have been forced to implement certain administrative changes, to adapt to this unexpected working environment. ‘Work From Home’ has been one of those changes. No matter how tempting the idea sounds, it has divided the industrial world into two major types of employees – people who love the idea of working from home, and people who miss the feeling of being in a productive, lively office space, surrounded by their colleagues.

According to an online survey conducted by Entrepreneur India to understand how work from home has changed people’s professional behaviours, they found: 

53% of the respondents are in favour of working from home, 16% are cynical about it, and 31% have an unbiased stand.

This might seem new to many of us, but remote working has been practiced as an unconventional concept, by many companies over the last few years, for e.g. GitLab and Cisco. There are several reasons for that shift, such as cost saving, time saving, and reduction in environmental pollution. In addition, work from home has proven to be a very effective way of enhancing productivity and ensuring a healthy work-life balance. So, there are many ways it can benefit an organization as well as its employees.

However, considering the traditional way of working that we’re accustomed to, many people obviously, miss getting dressed up, going to their work spaces, and working in an office environment along with others, who are equally motivated. Work from home will undoubtedly be adopted by many digital marketing agencies in India and across the world, in the post-Corona world, considering how much it can enhance efficiency.

Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) has recently announced that they plan on: having around 75% of their employees work from home by 2025.

But, there are still certain departments and job profiles that cannot be managed or operated by working remotely from home. It is possible for IT employees, engineers, HR professionals, consultants, content writers, designers, and knowledge workers to work from home and continue to be more productive. However, finance, insurance, and sales professionals will surely find it difficult to work from home, at least in the beginning. So, they will surely take time to understand the ins and outs of working remotely, and struggle to get used to it.

“Our prediction was that by the end of 2020 many engineers would go remote. In the post Corona world, 50% of the people will go back to offices, but many will realsie that they were wasting a lot of time travelling and adding to the pollution. The other 50%, especially in tech, will choose to work remotely or work from home…” Ayush Jaiswal, PestoTech co-founder and CEO.

Even if employers recommend their staff members come to work, they would have to be considerate and understand that the post-Corona world will witness decreased office capacity. It would be ideal to have employees who are required to visit their respective offices work on rotational, alternate shifts. And, those who are working from home will have to ensure stellar communication skills, professionalism, and a strong will to be consistent. Otherwise, the negatives that accompany work from home, can trap you in a block of decreased efficiency, such as lack of consistency, laziness, and various short-term distractions. All employees must maintain a sense of professionalism while they are on calls with clients or internal teams, and must block out any sort of noise or distractions, in the background while working from home.

If every employee, irrespective of the department or industry they belong to, starts to enjoy remote work as a learning tool and practices it with a sense of responsibility towards their work, then it can surely be a failsafe way of boosting productivity. As far as the role of employers is concerned, they will have to put more trust in their employees and understand that they don’t need constant supervision. Managers and employees should share a relationship driven by a more solid understanding of one another’s working styles. Perfect, well thought-out adoption of work from home, can also drive better communication within teams, and between them.

Now, the concern that still remains untouched revolves around how employers can make this idea, estimated to be the new industrial norm in the coming months or years, more accessible, flexible, and open for all employees. There are several things they can do to ensure everyone is feeling a sense of togetherness, despite being separate in their own homes, trying to make sense of all this. Coffee workshop sessions, coffee chats, and fun team bonding activities, like online games, can be scheduled. If all these activities are still not enough to offer the feeling similar to being in a lively, vibrant office space, some employees can visit co-working spaces in future, once things stabilize.

As a digital marketing firm in India, we still do not know how successful this Work From Home experiment will be. But, one thing we can surely bet on, is that it will make many employees of all levels and profiles reassess their approach to work, introspect, and get a reality check. And, the realizations they have will surely lead them in the direction of enhanced productivity and impeccable professionalism.

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