During the Covid-19, the world majorly shifted to the work-from-home model, allowing people the flexibility to working from the comfort of their home. As the cases started going down and after two years of disruption, things are coming back to normal. With the reopening of offices, in the post-pandemic era, people are seen valuing family time and their emotional and mental well-being. Employees and employers both seem to have met mid-way with the hybrid work model.
However, a majority of the companies are calling their employees back to the office. As everyone has gotten used to working in the comfort of their homes, are people ready to return? BestMediaInfo.com deep dived to understand the sentiments and to figure out an amicable path going ahead.
An email by Tesla CEO Elon Musk did the rounds on Twitter, in which the employees of Tesla were, without any exceptions, asked to come back to the office and to spend a minimum of 40 hours per week in the professional setting. In the mail, Musk said that he believes that building a company like Tesla will require people to be present on-site. He cited his presence in the factory and asked the senior-level management to showcase their presence as much as they can.
There are sectors and jobs that require the people to be present in offices, but there are also other vocations in which physical presence is not paramount to the execution.
Shashank Srivastava, Executive Director at Maruti Suzuki India, said, “I believe that person-to-person contact is really important to build a relationship in our industry whether it is with any party (consumers, dealers, employees, etc). There is no substitute for being physically present. However, I think there is another aspect is where companies can save on a lot of costs, there may be many activities that need to require you to work from the home. For e.g., many meetings requiring people to travel from different places or states, and countries. It can happen virtually easily. Going forward, we will see a hybrid model and it is going to stay.”
“I think companies have to identify the activities that require physical presence and the ones that can happen virtually. It is going to be a little challenge for companies to identify which one’s what,” he added.
Pranav Krishnan, Head of Culture and Communications, Schbang, said, “We currently are working on a hybrid system and we believe that's the way forward for us across offices as well. We are okay with people working from home but we have also found merit in people coming into the office and collaborating. We have come to believe that people coming to the office helps in creating a more holistic environment for us and connecting with individuals quicker. At the same time, working from home has proven beneficial for our teams in many different aspects.”
Although WFH has its own perks, it does come with an almost omnipresent drawback with many employees complaining that the work doesn’t finish in time, as it used to when they worked from the office. So, what are the advantages of WFH as well as WFO?
Anjani Kuumar, Global Human Resource Leader, MX Player, said that people prefer different things at different times- it may be WFH or WFO or even work from anywhere.
“There has been a significant shift in people’s needs and priorities over the past couple of years and WFH caters well to that, providing us with the flexibility of working while living our best lives and we would not dispute the evident advantages of the same. At the same time, the human interaction provided by WFO has its own benefits in terms of learning and growth. It provides space for creative collaboration and brainstorming,” he said.
According to a report by BCG NASSCOM on Future of Work Report: Building strong culture and changing leadership roles are paving the way for hybrid work model. It says that as companies begin to call employees back to work, they must now build their value proposition around three fundamental pillars; developing newer talent pool with domain specific skills to execute ER&D projects (niche skill sets, lower attrition, rapid upskilling), supporting variability in contractual agreements and capacity delivered (forecasting, quick ramp-ups, gig economy) resilient operations, and a strong brand (geographical spread, BCP, robustness of remote infra). Organisations will also need to strengthen the chain of culture by incorporating a more trust-based and embedded culture to retain and attract newer talent.
Seconding this, Darshan Bathija, CEO and CO-founder of Vauld, said, “The 9-to-5 model of working is dead. We have teams from different countries and we have customers from different countries. Flexible work hours and working culture will allow our employees to enjoy greater freedom with how they chalk out their day and improve work-life balance.”
As we are moving to another phase, companies are hopeful and open to change with changing times. Neel Aryan Birla, Head of Investor Relations, Hedonova, said, “We never anticipated that we would be working from home for so long, it is too early to decide what the future holds for us, with changing times, we should always be ready to accept the change while ensuring no negative effect on business continuity.”