The pandemic disrupted the Status Quo. The world had to adjust to new living and working conditions. Though the concept of working from home (WFH) was not new but was only used in emergencies. With the outbreak of the virus, WFH was no longer an option; it became a necessity. With the pandemic now in its third year, working from home has become the norm to ensure the safety and well-being of employees while maintaining business operations.
The last two years have brought a drastic change in how the world operates. In 2020, when the world was hit by the pandemic and the remote working model was brought in, it was a challenge for both the employees and the employer. Both were learning to adjust to the new normal of working. With few glitches and hiccups along the way, the business world learned how to function in accordance with the prevailing conditions. In 2021, things started to get back to normal partially, and the discussion shifted to how to effectively combine remote workers with an in-person component in the given set-up at work.
The other aspect to it that came to light after workplaces started to open was that the organizations are realizing their workforce overwhelmingly supports the hybrid model of work and want to continue with it.
Work from home: Blessing in Disguise
Eventually, WFH proved to be a blessing in adversity. The corporate world started to realize the perks that come along with this work arrangement. “Embracing this change, 88 percent of Indian employees want to keep continue working from home. Also, 69 percent of the Indian workforce believe their productivity has increased by an average of 60 percent from their APAC counterparts.” (SAP Concur India, 2020)
Hybrid work model: The Future of Work
As things started to look up after the second wave, businesses prepared themselves to work in the new normal. The concept of the Hybrid work model was adopted by most companies challenging the traditional work model. The idea was to combine the office and the WFH (also known as remote work).
The hybrid work model essentially has three variations which are remote-first – which basically means that their operations will be fully remote except for a few exceptions. Here the employees are spread out across time zones and default to online communication. Second, s office-occasional where the organizations retain their office space and the employees can occasionally come to the office. Third, office-first, remote allowed where both in-office and remote work is applicable but depute the office as the primary place of work.
This innovative work solution ensures safety and increases efficiency, productivity and collaboration, job satisfaction among employees as well as improves mental health and well-being. According to NASSCOM Return To Workplace Survey 2021, Around 70% of organizations are looking at hybrid work models beyond the pandemic. As per the survey, 40% of the employees expect to work from office premises up to three days a week.
Let’s look at the perks of WFH that employers cannot ignore
Modern working methods are here to stay as the world adapts to new ways of life and the way we work has rapidly changed over the years. Work from Home has created opportunities for both employees and employers. Let’s take a look at some of the benefits of working from home for employers.
- Increase Employee efficiency and productivity- Many studies, such as the one mentioned above, show that working from home has increased employee efficiency and productivity. The flexibility and independence of WFH have helped to bring out the maximum potential of both employees and the organisation.
- Distance is not a barrier anymore- Working from an office has frequently limited employers’ ability to recruit good resources from different regions/cities. Working from home has smashed that barrier, allowing businesses to tap into aspects they would otherwise not take into consideration.
- Cost reduction-Work from home has benefited businesses to a greater extent due to the reduction in extra costs. Before WFH, companies had to pay for things like electricity, rent, elevator and security system maintenance, and so on. All of these expenses have been spared thanks to WFH.
- Higher Employee retention- Employee satisfaction is one of the advantages of working from home. For example, employees who had to travel a long distance to get to the office can now use that time to add value to the company. As a result, an employee can spend less time commuting and more time working, increasing overall efficiency. Over 70% of workers want flexible remote work options to remain available. Microsoft (Microsoft, 2021.)
- Offers better work-life balance- According to the Microsoft 2022 Work Trend Index, 53% of people prioritise their health and well-being overwork. A better work-life balance is appealing to the new generation of workers, and the WFH provides it. The Flexible working appeals to Millennials. As a result, for companies that want to attract that pool of talent, flexibility should be a priority.
The world was not ready for the disruption before as it is today. While many companies like Google and Facebook announced WFH for the next five to six years, many other corporate giants resorted to a hybrid work model. With Covid-19 cases on the rise in India and uncertainty creeping in, there is a sense of confidence, that we are ready this time. Many companies have already shifted from a Hybrid work model to remote work for the employees to ensure the safety and well-being of the employees and the company. Whatever the future holds, the world is ready to anticipate change and adapt to it.