Work-from-home going to stay, even after Covid-19 scare is over

Mumbai | New Delhi: Covid-19 forced work-from-home on companies. WFH may stay even after the pandemic scare fades. HR heads of major companies say WFH is a “trial run on a big scale” and a “silver lining in the whole calamity”. Employers and employees benefit from WFH even in normal times, they say.

For employees, benefits include saving on commute and more flexibility when it comes to work-life balance. For employers, the pluses are establishment cost-saving and enhanced productivity.

HR heads from a dozen leading corporations including Axis Bank, Bank of Baroda, RPG Group, Vedanta, EY, Cognizant, Titan, Deloitte, Whirlpool, Paytm, Saint-Gobain India, among others, said that virtual workplaces are the future of work.

“Work-from-home is here to stay,” said Rajkamal Vempati, executive vice president & head – human resources, Axis Bank. For a bank, functions such as customer service roles, phone banking, HR, corporate office functions, which do not require meeting customers, could be the ones to be first considered for remote working. “Nearly 20-30% of the people can work virtually going ahead,” says Vempati.

Joydeep Dutta Roy, head, strategic HR and HR integration at Bank of Baroda, and Sandeep Kohli, partner and talent leader at EY India, see WFH as a factor in increasing ease of doing business and cutting costs.

Over the last couple of weeks, companies have been in a fire-fighting mode to put the IT backend in place, which has been the most significant bottleneck so far in embracing virtual workplace.

“WFH is poised to become an increasingly acceptable norm as we have seen in many countries,” says Ramkumar Ramamoorthy, chairman, Cognizant India. “Any company that would have shied away from it earlier, would not have a problem now with the IT infrastructure being put in place,” said Azfar Hussain, group head – organization & talent development at diversified conglomerate RPG.

HR heads also say arrangements such as hot-desking will become more common, bringing down establishment costs.

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