The best talent isn’t found in a single zip code…
The fundamental nature of work has transformed with the ever-improving information technology and availability of super savvy tools. The millennial way of working is catching up and you do not need to be in an office space anymore to accomplish your tasks. Employers have to include flex-jobs as one of the parameters, considering that quality talent is on the lookout for a workplace with an open culture – one that supports working remotely.
There are a lot of examples of companies moving away from the traditional office space to going completely remote or simply allowing their employees to work remotely.
Add to this the increasing number of talented freelancers, willing to work for any given profile, mostly from the comfort of their homes or coffee shops!
Sadly, however, when it comes to Indian workplaces, the scenario is quite different. In spite of the benefits of remote working such as reduced overhead costs and no commute time, there exists a fair share of reluctance for working remotely as far as India is concerned.
Let’s talk about few reasons why remote workplaces come about as a far-fetched idea in India.
Why Indian Companies Seem Hesitant To Embrace The ‘Remote’ Work Culture…
While the corporate landscape is changing dramatically, the work culture in India still hasn’t completely accepted the concept of working ‘remotely’. Here are some of the reasons:
1. Lack Of Infrastructure:
Working remotely comes with its own set of challenges such as having access to the internet, with a decent speed. While metro cities boast of a lot of options for remote working like co-working spaces and cafes where you can use free wifi, the same cannot be said of smaller cities and towns.
If you have a skype call scheduled or need to send out important emails and your internet gives you trouble… we all know how that feels.
Also, a lot of work these days relies on the internet. People store and access files in the cloud and all this means your systems are syncing and dependent on the internet.
2. The Problem Of Privacy:
While everyone seems to be talking about the growing prevalence of nuclear families, the concept of ‘joint families’ still exists in India.
In a survey, more than 60% employees said attending to household chores is the biggest interruption they face while working from home.
It may not be possible for a person working from home to have a separate room all for himself, to work from. Family members might unconsciously thwart his/her privacy. This could result in distractions and might affect the quality of work.
3. Cultural Stigma:
Working from home is not yet a mainstream activity in India and that is why it is looked upon with negativity. Working from home has never been a part of our culture and people still don’t take it seriously.
There are all sorts of preconceived notions about people working remotely – like (s)he is lazy or socially awkward. It is hard to fight off the mindsets of people around you who feel you are probably doing nothing substantial with your life, no matter how significant project you must have taken up.
However, the trend is slowly and surely changing with young professionals choosing to work from home, especially in crowded and dense cities like Mumbai. People are more accepting of the culture for one very basic reason – it saves the time spent in commuting through traffic to and from work!
Additionally, a lot of companies are trying to save on the staggeringly high costs of space in metros… getting remote workers on board solves this crucial problem!
4. Fear Of Lack Of Productivity:
In a recent survey involving 25,000 professionals, it was found that 62% of remote employees fear that other employees don’t think they are working as hard as them.
While one of the major factors to support remote working is to avoid the time wasted in commuting, it paints a very dreary picture when the same employees do not work productively and achieve the desired results. It is for this very reason that managers frown upon work from home policy. A lot of times this perk is used non-judiciously leading to productivity issues.
Managers are also fearful of change that requires them to step out of their comfort zone. Letting your team work remotely also entails trusting them with the fact, that they will work out of even ‘Starbucks’!
It is very important to build a culture of trust and accountability amongst the employees if working remotely has to become a day to day reality.
5. Differences In Salaries:
If your organization is located out of Mumbai and you are working remotely from Pune, you could be offered a salary in tune with the standard of living in your city. The same position could be fetching a higher salary if an employee works out of the office. This is also one of the factors which discourage employees opting for work from home.
They would prefer moving to places where there are more options to work with better salaries.
While there are reasons to embrace working remotely, there are some which make you think twice.
The fact is from an employees perspective, working remotely allows employees to create a more seamless work-life balance.
They are healthier, happier and in fact more productive (if they can find a way to get rid of distractions).
This is because they are completely in charge of their schedules and have the freedom to work as they are comfortable.
What’s important is to stay connected with the help of technology and get the work done in an optimized manner.
It is impossible to deny the benefits of the ‘remote’ working culture. But, it is crucial to address the above challenges before we can embrace it completely!