The Covid-19 Pandemic has forced organisations across the globe to adopt Work from Home as a core practice in their organisation’s culture.
“Honestly, Work from Home is utter rubbish, it doesn’t work…”, said my manager, from one of my previous organisations. A little background here…
I used to stay in Kharghar (a part of Navi Mumbai and light years away from Mumbai and specifically from Andheri, where my then employer’s office was) and used to take care of my Sales vertical’s client acquisition and retention in Thane and Navi Mumbai region. Thus, I was requesting my Manager to let me go to client meetings, directly from home and then go back home once I am done with my day’s meetings. This is because it would’ve been a waste of at least 3 to 4 hours per day, if I had to travel from Kharghar to Andheri, then leave for meetings (which needed to be in Navi Mumbai and/or Thane) and then go back to Andheri and then back home to Kharghar every evening! However, the above statement in quotes that you read… That’s how he reacted!
Well… I don’t blame him. Till about February or March 2020, many organisations (at least in the sales teams) had the same culture. May be lack of trust and the need to constantly monitor sales teams’ activities may have made the management teams do so! They are not to be blamed entirely too… Even employees often take advantage of the freedom given to them!
Eventually, my manager did facilitate a seat for me in Vashi (Navi Mumbai), where we had a small space shared between three sister companies, belonging to our parent company group. Also, a little later, he even stopped bothering if I am going to office on a regular basis or not.
Few years later, in 2018, I moved to an organisation which was headquartered in Bangalore and had no physical presence in Mumbai. Hence, it was expected that I work from home and diligently do my client meetings and go back home. Even after the organisation was acquired by a larger name, which had a facility in Mumbai, my Manager left it to me if I want to go to office every day or not. My manager and I had always agreed that its practically a waste of time and energy to travel to and from office everyday and invest those 3 hours in merely commuting. Eventually, I had also started doing Google Meets with people based out of Mumbai and with some based out of India.
However, if I ever happened to speak to a recruiter and told him/her about my routine, they often used to highlight this as a concern that the employer may be looking at someone who is used to the usual home-office-meetings-office-home routine!
Cut to March 2020!
The pandemic hit the entire world and suddenly, human beings were not allowed to meet each other and for a major part of the year, they weren’t even allowed to step out of their homes! Organisations started asking their employees to switch to work from home mode and still be able to deliver results! The transition is taking a while and both the parties (the employer/management and the employee) are slowly getting used to it with managing household chores and personal commitments along with work deadlines.
Post June 2020, whichever recruiters I happened to speak to, some of them have been seemingly impressed that I have been working from home for the past two years at least.
I moved to a new employer in November 2020 and during some casual discussions with the management, even they admitted that they were not from the school of thought of letting their employees work remotely (except in some cases on need basis). However, the pandemic did compel them (like almost every organisation globally) to adapt to the new normal! And it’s a good thing, right?
This pandemic will be gone someday. Some organisations may continue to let their employees work from home and others may go back to their old model. Also, practically, there are some jobs which cannot be done from home and this has to be accepted too! But wherever possible, remote working should be encouraged, isn’t it?
What are your thoughts?