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Work from home: The new normal



Like the rest of the globe, Hyderabad is also slowly learning to live with Covid-19. Reports suggest that all the pandemic related restrictions would be withdrawn soon. One thing is certain, Covid-19 pandemic will ever be remembered for many wrong reasons, even if an 'all clear' is sounded. But not all is negative about the pandemic at workplaces. The pandemic has set the tone for many new normal among establishments across the sectors, government offices included. In a first, offices have widely welcomed work from home model. Work from home was originally implemented to save the employees from being exposed to the infection prone environments. This also saved many from the hassles of getting to travel when public transport is shut, and cabs and auto rickshaws fail to keep up the booking. Soon the work form home gained wide acceptance from the employees and employers. Even today in the city, when all the offices are allowed to work with full capacity, many of them continue to operate with lesser numbers. Half or even the whole of the workforce are working remotely. Yes, the work form home is here to stay. Google and Facebook have extended its work-from-home policy for the remainder of 2020 and we will start to see other companies follow. The reasons are much more than just the employees' convenience. Work form home has definitely contributed improvement in productivity and saving costs, if media reports are to be believed. As this option was offered for a limited number of days earlier, companies might not have examined this angle before. It is said that even public sector companies are likely to take a cue from the benefits of remote working However, the attributes of a lockdown situation and a normal one might differ. For example, lockdown is sans social activities for the employees and their productive time gets stretched. This may not happen when the situation normalises. Work from home had a low rate of adoption till now because of customers' apprehensions on security issues. But when the Covid-l9 made work from home a compulsion, the companies acted proactively, Logistics and infrastructure, customers' consent, security protocols, connectivity issues, just to name a few, were all addressed in a record time. Hence the extending work from home now has less hassles. However, there are other challenges too when work from home becomes a routine. The disposal of extra space on the campuses of technology companies is a major task that too at a time when everyone is cash strapped. This may not be a happy news for builders. realtors, caterers and other ancillaries. Certain tax related issues might also come up. Work from home makes the employees time rich. In the pandemic times it enables one to stay safe. It adds to flexibility too Commuting to work is always stressful. Work from home eliminates this dread When the deadlines get close and you ought to log in early or log out late, it is at ease to work from home rather than getting spooked by the shuttling blues. Some people say work from home helps them focus more on work during crises as routine distractions use up your time in office. But the success of remote working largely depends on setting up the right workspace and enforcing the personal boundaries, The lure of a live cricket match on television set at home is to be overcome, At the same time, you need not curtail your family time in the afterhours. Work and life have to be balanced well. Space constraint could be a worry when you work from home. A separate workroom is the best fit, but impractical many times; say when both husband and wife are working, or the accommodation is a shared one. The concept of a workroom at home is fast catching up. Work rooms are a must-have now in the residential interiors. Another aspect to be looked into is the network issues at homes. Employee-lite offices, with the majority of employees working from home is the trend setter of the post Covid- 19 world. How the scenario would fare? Only time will tell us.

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