Prime Minister Narendra Modi on November 6 announced the guidance for Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) and IT-Enabled Services (ITES) players to lessen their consistence trouble for the industry and encourage “work from home” and “work from anywhere”. He further added, “The reform will certainly unleash the potential of our talented youth by making India as a preferred destination for Information and Knowledge Outsourcing Industry and would further the vision of AtmaNirbhar Bharat“.
Leaders of the IT and BPO industry in India commended the government’s transition to loosen up rules to enable IT and BPO organizations to embrace a permanent work from home/work from anywhere [WFH], considering it a game changer that could make a great job opportunities in small towns and cities. Reacting to this, software body Nasscom President Debjani Ghosh said, “This is one of those game-changing moments. As this bandwagon continues, there are some companies that have permanently decided to make partial or full WFH feature for certain roles in their organizations. As per Daminee Sawhney, VP-HR, Zomato, “We felt the biggest advantages were flexibility of work hours and saving the workforces’ travelling time, while the biggest challenge was ensuring every ‘zoman’ working remotely continued to feel connected and well supported”.
While Rishad Premji, who is the son of Wipro Founder Azim Premji said that although 98% of the Wipro employees are working from home, he wishes that all of them return to office and work, not from home. As per him, “The reality is culture grows by osmosis. Culture grows by people engaging at the ward coffee machine, or the water cooler, gossiping about the organization, exchanging notes.” The company can only grow when there is an inherent culture found.
However, since this WFH action has caused lot of controversies among the employers, there is wrangle between employees too. It works for some and not for others who are yearning to return to life as it seemed to be. Many employees feel that there is less distraction and they can work better compared to office. There will be increase in their productivity. But at the same time, few of them complaint about tired of working in isolation. WFH has lost charm for them and they miss their workplace interaction. With the uncertainty of COVID-19 situation, some employees seem quite done working from home.
So, the point here is WFH may be good in many ways and of course as productive as in an office space, but it is not enough. There is a mass who long office culture. This blog describes about the value of an office space and find doses of office time, even if it means working out from Swiggy, Starbucks or any other delivery services. The word OFFICE itself has some relevancy towards fun, enjoyment along with discipline, seriousness.
- O-Office provides a landing field
What is a landing field? The place that allow people to get away from outside noise and provide comfort zone. That is the office space gives them comfort to move away from other things and get into the working zone. Well, this field does not mean physical space but a stress buster. Chats around the coffee machine and water area in between the work hours, releases your stress and align to focus on work. But the same background is not found at home, there is something that lacks while at home.
- F-Familiarity with unknown
As said by Kio Stark, “When you talk to strangers, you’re making beautiful interruptions into the expected narrative of your daily life – and theirs.”
The office mates, though unfamiliar, soon becomes pals and create a space for them in our life, despite being strangers initially. The office colleagues, elevator operators, people from different office but parking mates, regular faces at coffee area relaxes ourselves and bring in the positive vibes.
- F-Food during office breaks
People definitely miss the lunch/dinner time during office hours. These are the times when people have any random conversation – be it what’s happening in city or their life, any other updates, mimicking or entertainment during lunch/dinner time interval, makes oneself stress-free from office workload. People miss that loud conversation, that collective informative discussion, sporty chats and much more. Specifically, when the office lunch/dinner is not upto the mark, the collective moaning or full on gossip regarding the same with colleagues are unquestionably to be missed. Of course, not to forget the time spent arguing about the food to order for lunch/dinner.
Satya Nadella said to Times editors on aspects of managing during the pandemic, “More meetings start and end on time, but “what I miss is when you walk into a physical meeting, you are talking to the person that is next to you, you’re able to connect with them for the two minutes before and after.”
Exactly…those intellectual interactions with your nearby colleagues cannot happen on online meeting. With WFH due to COVID-19, those brainstorming yet a fruitful interaction go missing.
- C- Closure of the day
Office leads good vibes not only by just waving your officemates but also by greeting ‘Good Morning’ to the colleagues. Positive impact is generated even when other staff members bid goodbye daily to you while physically leaving from the office for their respective homes. This is just not possible with WFH situation; online goodbye never gives you that feel. It takes lot of effort to form an ‘imaginary line of exit’.
- E- Expression of face and body goes missing
When it comes to office meeting, it is the body language of the colleagues that plays vital role in implementing the thoughts into actions. There are non-verbal cues that make you determine the seriousness of the workplace. Online meeting may help express with words but you may miss out on body language and also the non-verbal cues that include posture to expression – extremely important for any official project meetings. One cannot gauge the body language when people login from different stations.
To sum it up, WFH is not a new concept to many now, but it may not fill the workers up with tremendous achievement. There is always a lingering sense of lack of being joyous and giving better output without having social surrounding with respect to office pals. After all, Men Is A Social Animal. He needs space to interact, converse and mingle but COVID-19 has certainly hastened the process.
Apart from this, everybody’s situation is different at home. There is a risk of higher physiological and psychological discomfort when WFH is the only option. Inadequate spacing, poor ventilation or lights, unergonomic furniture and also continuous disturbance from surrounding may increase stress and also hamper the quality of work. Social distancing and isolation from colleagues and friends have deprived those who are away from family for the work purpose, WFH have made them lonely to larger extent. There are partial chances of home being converted to office completely.
Keeping these factors in mind, many of the online digital platforms like Khatriji that provides path for mobile, DTH and datacard recharge along with utility bill payment for electricity, landline, broadband, gas pipeline have applied work from office strategy only.
Thus, despite support from the government regarding the WFH system, it is yet a debatable question among both employees and employers.