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  • As COVID numbers decline, Work from Home Ignites a Debate again

    With the resurgent Covid-19 pandemic seeming to wind down (hopefully leading to a full wind-up), there has been renewed conversation around the future of what has been part of the life of billions around the world for close to two years-work from home. When it started most were skeptical about how people could manage to work at home without the office paraphernalia and away from their colleagues. But manage they did thanks to the wonder that is a digital technology and soon they discovered its many advantages.

    It was goodbye to early morning dressing up for office, getting hassled on account of the daily office commute and myriad other things that combined to make one too dog-tired to do anything but crash for the night after a hasty dinner. People found time to not only work for the office but also connect with their family members in ways that were not possible earlier and above all with themselves. Away from the hurly-burly of office life, many discovered what they were truly about. 

    They decided to strive for a much healthier life-work balance in many cases even quitting their jobs for something that would suit their desires better. Many decided to go for what was known as a workstation- working remotely from an exotic holiday destination. People were so taken in by this new way of looking at one’s work-life that they decided to question the very point of a return to the office.

    But that was in the past when Covid-19 was a raging global pandemic that was devastating whole nations. With the pandemic on the retreat(fingers-crosses) people, especially those responsible for running businesses were beginning to take a call about whether it was time to head back to the office again. 

    Cred Founder’s Brutal Take Down of Work from Home on Twitter

    An emphatic indication of this came when Cred founder Kunal Shah took to Twitter in delivering a stinging denouncement of the whole work from home concept to state, “Impact of WFH on youth is the same as [the] impact of children who study at home.” He went on to say- “No real bonds. No real social or network skills,” and added, “Illusion of understanding and learning -comfortable but damaging in the long run,” as savage a takedown of the whole work from concept, as you could possibly imagine.

    A Twitter Storm Brews

    His statement naturally put the proverbial cat amongst the pigeons with netizens and others expressing their views both in favor of and against his views. For instance, Kashif Raza, the founder of Bitinning tweeted equally strongly in repudiation of what Shah had stated. According to the former’s tweet- “People don’t progress at the office by doing a mundane job. They progress by finding new exciting alternatives,” wrote Kashif Raza, founder of Bitinning.

    “Kunal when there was no school or college people still progressed.”

    “People don’t progress at the office by doing a mundane job they progress by finding new exciting alternatives.”

    “Many people who did WFH are now happy & found something else to work on for the rest of their life.

    Among many others who railed against Shah’s tweet was Paras Shah who stated-

    “1) have been working from home since the beginning (except for 3-4 years) & still, I am one of the best networkers around!

    2) @jayvasavada is homeschooled and one of the most influential Indians around with a great network built across the world.

    Thus, the post is faulty.”

    Cyber hub of India Bengaluru fears growing moonlighting under the garb of Work From Home

    While the work from home concept is fine both from the employer and employee points of view on account of the convenience it offers and the fact that it brings down administrative costs, there’s growing unease about its misuse by unscrupulous employees. In particular, many of the IT firms based in Bengaluru find the possibility of some of their highly skilled technology employees taking on side projects a distinct and worrying possibility. The worry is that this may be causing both revenues, as well as productivity losses to the businesses in question. Believing that out of sight is out of mind, they would rather have their employees start doing their work at the office sooner rather than later. 

    Many such companies are bearing pressure upon their employees to consider a return to office-if not on a full-time basis, then on a hybrid one. That moonlighting in the IT sector has become a serious problem, came to the fore, when there was a case report of a person has taken on seven jobs simultaneously!

    A SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses , Opportunities, Threats)

    Strengths from the point of view of employees

    -Helps the employees save the 2 to 3 hour daily commute time.

    -Better work-life balance allows them to pursue their passions.

    • Absence of office politics

    Strengths from the point of view of the employers

    • Happier and more motivated employees.
    • Cost-saving in terms of office infrastructure.

    Weaknesses from the point of view of employees

    • Long, indefinite, and ill-defined working hours.
    • Absence of comradery, team spirit, and water-cooler moments. 
    • Staying cooped up at home is bad for mental health.

    Weakness from the point of view of employers

    • Training and coaching of new inductees, especially in the technology industry is tough.
    • Live mentoring of junior employees is not possible
    • Unchecked moonlighting by employees in the technology industry

    Opportunities from the point of view of employees

    • Upgrading their technology skills
    • Flexibility of schedule
    • Wearing what one likes
    • Nobody to boss over you like in an office environment

    Opportunities from the point of view of employers

             – Being able to leverage technology

    • Breaking free from constraints of geography and time zone by being able to access the best talent, wherever it might be available.
    • Better connectivity with employees at all times, thanks to digital means of connectivity.
    • Rationalization of office and administrative expenses

    Threats from the point of view of employees

    • Inability to network
    • Not being able to build an effective working relationship with the boss
    • Not suited to sectors like construction and logistics-people working in such sectors might feel short-changed
    • Employees working in travel, entertainment, and leisure might fear the loss of jobs on account of people not leaving home due to the work from home phenomenon

    Threats from the point of view of employers

    • Inability to monitor the activities and performance of employees
    • Inability to provide hands-on training to employees
    • Poor realization of operational and business targets due to far from perfect planning, poor resource allocation, and weak implementation

    The Pushback Against Work From Home Has Begun in Real Earnest

    For all the extolled virtues of the work from home phenomenon(largely by employees), there is a distinct sense of “enough is enough” from employers who are increasingly insisting that employees get serious and get back to work at the office. Cred founder, Shah’s tweet is representative of this undercurrent. For most companies, a return to office is the logical paradigm for businesses to effectively manage the critically important functions, create an empowering organizational culture, and above all the security and integrity of data.

    There are many amongst the employees too who can’t wait for work to resume at their offices. They miss the buzz and action of office life and in the case of the young the exhilarating sense of freedom that comes with it. Many view the extended work from the home period as a sort of a too-long prison sentence and feel that their growth has been stunted both professionally and personally.

    However, a more balanced and nuanced view holds that there is no right way of doing things as far as one’s work goes. The whole going to office phenomenon is also a relatively recent construct and it is not necessarily the only way of doing things. The exponential growth in digital technology has shown that in many areas it makes perfect sense to work from home and perform even better than one would at the office. One can these days use virtual means to scale up one’s level of work to what is needed for the job quite easily even while working at home.

    There is some consensus about the fact that both work from home and work from the office can coexist. Jobs, where one can manage a large business perfectly by stationing employees at home as is the case with so many service sector industries, can surely continue to work that way. On the other hand industries like construction, automobile, engineering, and so on that require the physical presence of workers can call them to work. In other cases, there can be a hybrid approach put in place. For instance, education could be offered as a choice between an on-campus and an off-campus version.


    We haven’t heard the last of this debate and with Covid 19 playing hide and seek and the possibility of other pandemics upending the normal way of things, it would be unwise to pull the plug on the work from the home phenomenon. The times keep on changing and our responses to it have to keep pace. We will have to find ways to integrate the advantages of working from home with working at the office and come up with a whole new paradigm that is in sync with the requirements of the second decade of the 21st century.

    YouSay న్యూస్ & ఎంటర్‌టైన్‌మెంట్. మా బృందంలో చేరడానికి అనుభవం ఉన్న లేదా రాయాలనే అభిరుచి ఉన్న నైపుణ్యం కలిగిన తెలుగు కంటెంట్ రైటర్లు కావలెను. Email:contentte@yousay.tv