The coronavirus has taken the world by storm. It has infected lakhs of people across the globe and has taken the lives of lakhs more. In India alone, there are around 80,000 positive cases with over 2,500 deaths. To curb the spread of COVID-19, the Government of India has imposed a lockdown since 25th March 2020. This has left the businesses with no choice but to work from home and ensure that the economic activities continue to move if not grow.
However, during this period of lockdown, several businesses have noted that the WFH scheme has not only helped them continue with their regular operations but has also helped them boost their productivity by 20% or more.
Pros of Working from Home during Lockdown
The benefits that were reaped by businesses when working from home ranged from financial to personal gains. Where most companies couldn’t expand on the idea of working from home before lockdown, it has now become more beneficial than they previously imagined.
Most companies have vast infrastructure that takes up a lot of costs to run. They have managed to save on the cost of real estate, transport, electricity and water bills amongst several others. Many businesses have also reduced their operating cost by lowering the salary of their employees by 30% to 50%.
It has hence been determined that WFH during lockdown has reduced the overall operating cost by 50% to 70%. This is the biggest reason why work from home has given a positive outcome for employers at the time of lockdown.
In fact, experts from PolicyX.com say that the WFH policy can also become the best strategy to recover from losses even post-lockdown.
Furthermore, the industries have managed to transition to the WFH scheme rather smoothly. This is because they continued the regular business with their clients without lowering their productivity or quality. Where they once feared to lose their clientele due to lockdown, they are now able to retain them with ease. This did not just surprise the leaders but also their clients.
How is the Transition to WFH Successful?
The two main reasons behind this seamless transition are adherence to the quality of services and availability of communication.
The industries, when operating remotely, have ensured that their workforce remains active and productive throughout the working hours. Their employees are working full-time and some are even working extra hours to tend to the needs of customers. This has helped them retain their quality. What has further contributed to their quality of processes is their availability.
The employees working from home are supposed to remain online at all times on their respective messenger services. This keeps them at reach in case anyone needs to get a touch. Furthermore, this allows leaders to hold meetings online that previously required them to be face to face with one another.
Both of the above factors are what make a business successful and helps them retain their clients even with the distancing.
Perhaps, another main reason behind the success of the WFH model is working from home itself. The fact that people can take regular coffee breaks, stretch, eat on time, eat healthy, and spend time with their family, while ensuring that the work gets done on time, is perfect for their physical and mental health. Also, the time they once spent to commute has also reduced to zero, leaving them with less stress and more relaxation. Hence, this has further helped them boost their productivity and remain happier.
Cons of Working from Home
While working from home has done a lot of good for various industrial sectors, it is also harming several others. The real estate industry is faltering with no or reduced activity in their business sector. Considering the lack of use of public transport, the transportation industry is losing its streak as well.
Working professionals themselves are affected negatively. To reiterate, the salary levels of several employees have been lowered by 30% to 50%. Furthermore, since the lockdown was imposed around the beginning of the financial year, most employees were denied their much-awaited and rightful hike.
Working from home has also blurred the roles that a person has to play as an employee and as a family member. Where working from office allowed them to remain focused on their task at hand, working from home has turned out to be distracting and unsuitable.
Not everyone in India has the luxury of owning a personal computer let alone a laptop to work from home. Unless the company itself is providing a device to work on, it is impossible for all the employees to work from home and remain productive. Furthermore, not every individual has a stable Wi-Fi connection at home.
What has become perhaps the most daunting part about working from home is data security. Several big organizations have faced security breaches in their products such as the video calling apps, their help desk portals, etc. Hence, unless extra security measures are facilitated, the client data remains unsafe and the companies will remain at the risk of losing them.
Work from Home – A Permanent Solution Post-Lockdown
Both small and large businesses are considering WFH as a permanent feature. This has led them to evaluate both the merits and challenges of the whole idea. Several companies have already made the decision of making only 25% of their employees work in the office building at any given time. The idea of WFH is spreading wide and fast, provided the security, quality and productivity remains unscathed.
While some industries such as the IT industry can continue to thrive in the WFH model, most of the other sectors will not benefit from this feature as their work requires them to be on the field. It will also reduce jobs for daily wage workers which will further increase unemployment in the country.
Nonetheless, for industries that can make the best out of working from home, it is quite advantageous to continue it even after lockdown. Considering the fact that not all sectors of the industry can continue to work from home post-lockdown, it can balance out the effect on the impacted sectors such as real estate and transport in the future.
Views expressed in the article are the personal opinion of Naval Goel, CEO & Founder of PolicyX.com.