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The Challenge of Work-from-Home in India Inc.

When 90% employees say that they want an option to work-from-home, what's stopping India Inc. from embracing it?

Photo Credit : Business Insider,

Work-from-home is one of the prime workplace debates lately and there exists a huge perception gap between employers and employees when it comes to having or not having a recognized work-from-home policy.

According to a survey of over 1,100 employees and almost 800 employers by TimesJobs, nearly 60% organizations do not have a formal work-from-home policy. Incidentally, 75% employers are not even comfortable with this idea, whereas 90% employees are keen on having such a policy at work.

"To survive in today's competitive business world, companies need to transform from a command and control culture to empower and enhance value system. Organizations that are able to create a culture that nurtures agile, high-performance teams will thrive. Policies such as work-from-home and flexi-working create a culture of trust and communicate the company's belief in its high-performance employees which in turn attracts and retains top talent," says Ramathreya Krishnamurthi, business head, TimesJobs.

Productivity and performance mismatch

The TimesJobs study further reveals that 70% employers still believe that productivity gets hampered when employees work from home. Contrary to this, 44% employees feel that work-from-home helps boost productivity. Also, 80% organizations say no to work-from-home as they say that they have no tracking mechanisms to manage workforce who opt for it.

Risks outweigh benefits

While employers do believe that work-from-home has certain benefits, as 40% see its biggest impact in boosting their employer brand, 30% see it as useful in curbing attrition and another 30% find it beneficial in improving employee productivity which is further linked to organizational output and profitability.

However, the risks outweigh the benefits as about 40% employers see a lack of control as the biggest challenge of a work-from-home policy, reveals the TimesJobs survey. Resistance from top management in acceptance and implementation of work-from-home strategy is another big challenge cited by 30% surveyed organizations. A lack of employee interest for work-from-home options is stated as a deterrent by 5% employers.

Roles are not suitable

Moreover, 25% employers believe that there are many jobs, which are not conducive to work-from-home arrangements and that is a hindrance in creating such a policy. Of these employers, 42% say work-from-home does not work well in IT related areas of work, 40% say it is not practical for logistics, supply chain management and procurement roles, and another 40% find it is not useful in customer service functions.

Nearly 35% employers feel work-from-home policy is unsuitable for those working in hospitality and related domains, another 35% say this for administrative profiles, 30% feel it does not work well for engineering profile, 25% see it inappropriate for accounting and finance roles. For 10% work-from-home is useless for sales, business development roles and 5% feel it is irrelevant for those working in entertainment, media and journalism segments.

Future outlook

Amidst all these reservations about work-from-home, while 35% organizations are unsure of adopting any such policy in near future, 40% employers say they already have a work-from-home policy but they will modify it to suit the changing needs of employees. And 25% organisations plan to implement this policy in near future.

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