Living in the current time throws light on countless benefits, and the compulsion to work from an office is not one of them. The trend of working from home, or telecommuting, has witnessed a steady uptick, renewing the global economy. A considerable percentage of the global workforce favours working from home in today’s corporate world. Even the corporates have realized the imperativeness of their employees working productively from anywhere, resulting in them offering telecommuting options through a good internet connection, clubbed with attention to time zones.
Approximately 3.9 million workers work from home globally, as reported by Global Workplace Analytics in 2017, displaying an increase of 115 percent since 2005. The number of employers offering work-from-home options has also grown by 40 percent in the last five years. Think India, and we come to the inference that both men and women are attracted to telecommuting. A study by Randstad, an HR service provider, cites that 53 percent of the 7,500 employees surveyed prefer to work from the comfort of their home, while 47 percent enjoy going to the office every day.
The average commute to and fro between home and office consumes 3-4 hours a day or 15-20 hours a week, resulting in wastage of productive man-hours and energy. This is accompanied by the stress we endure. Car usage in India has been growing by leaps and bounds, and public transportation is practically running at full capacity. If only more companies offer remote working opportunities, the productivity and creativity will shoot up phenomenally. But the question arises – how do we clock hours?
The structural change in this working style is brought about by technology. Information and Communications Technologies (ICT) have played a key role in helping the office expand beyond the cubicle. There are a number of software applications and communication tools such as conference calling, video conferencing, groupware, Voice-over-IP services (VoIP), Virtual Private Networks (VPN), time-tracking apps, etc. – to name a few – that have transformed board meetings to virtual meetings on a 13-inch laptop. Traditional face-to-face meetings can take place at regular intervals.
Of late, ‘lunch and learn’ sessions are fast gaining popularity as they are an effective way to brainstorm ideas, plan, and discuss the status of work in an informal setting.
If this model is adopted, slashed commute time – to practically zero – increases one’s productivity. Giving us less stress from travelling and more time to think, telecommuters come up with creative ideas to better serve their clients. People work for more than 40 hours per week when at home, yet enjoy work-life balance. Moreover, telecommuting is a model which is also a huge money saver. Workers from home can save more money per year thanks to reduced expenses on public transport costs, fuel, and even dry cleaning.
Work-from-home organizations can do away with renting conventional office spaces and opt for co-working spaces to accommodate their remote workforce. The costs of overheads, admin staff, and other office supplies are also negligent. Some employers even operate from home offices to save that extra penny.
The work-from-home trend is in full swing today, and if it continues (without online scams), the welfare of our country, the world, and the environment at large is certain. Current organizations need to make amendments to create standard Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for employees while monitoring performance and time through software applications. Startups are the torchbearers of this working model and others will soon follow suit.
Safaque Kagdi Afzal is the Founder and Director of Pressmate PR, a full-service PR agency with a unique business model.
(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)