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    Is Work From Home The New Normal Post Covid-19? Know What Guwahatians Think About It

    Sanchali Sutradhar

    Waking up with alarm clock, grabbing some quick breakfast, wearing business casuals, rushing to work, and attending conference meetings, now swapped with – Waking up without alarm clock, grabbing some brunch, wearing loose pajamas, rushing to laptop screens and attending virtual meetings…

    This life of a lockdown has changed people’s routine, their food timing, their living and their work style. In a flash, work from office has converted to work from home, meeting its pros as well as its cons.  Apart from the police and health professionals, majority of other professionals of the city continued to work from home amid the lockdown.  While for some sectors this concept was familiar to the employees, but for the other sectors, this was altogether a whole new concept. However, working from home comes with an advantage as professionals can save their time and money on a daily commute, eat home cooked meals and stay close to their family while working. But in India working from home was not earlier preferred until the pandemic of Covid-19 came into the picture.  

    The work from home set-up is ‘The New Normal’; a new study on Wednesday revealed that, at least 74 per cent Indians prefer to work from home after Covid-19 pandemic. According to the new report from the Global PC market leader Lenevo showed that, 91 per cent of the respondents in India agree that, they have increased their usage of laptops during this pandemic, even higher than the global average of 85 per cent.

    Also, the 95 per cent of participants in India agree that, they “became their own IT person” while working from home. Although most respondents from India said technology makes them efficient and more productive. The report also showed that, 78 per cent of respondents in India believe the technology they use at work is becoming more intuitive and user-friendly, while 84 per cent think they could do their job better if they had better technology skills. According to the survey, 70 per cent feel it is important to have separate devices for work and their personal life.

    Based on the new normal concept, we have spoken to few working professionals of the city to have their point of view on the preference of working from home.

    This data gave us valuable insights on the complex relationship employees have with technology as work and personal lives are becoming more intertwined with the increase in working from home,” stated Dilip Bhatia, Vice President of Global User and Customer Experience at Lenovo.

     “I run FMCG Company which is located at Azara, Guwahati. I have around 30 employees in total who works as in-house and for sales. During the lockdown period, my employees were working from home and we had no other option at that time but choose work from home in order to follow government rules and regulations, also adhering to the safety of my employees and their families. But on the other hand, I think this lockdown had made working professionals quite lazy. Working professionals were 80% efficient before lockdown, now if they prefer to work from home then the efficiency level will be reduced to 30% and it will affect the company revenue down to 30%. Before lockdown, working professionals used to work with full enthusiasm, now working from home has made them comfortable and lazy. They are working in their comfort zone. To some extent, it is good but if professionals prefer to work from home and be in their comfort zone, then I think the company proprietors will ideally have to degrade the remunerations,” says Nitin Darshil, a Managing Director of Hayat Mercantile Pvt. Ltd (FMCG Sector), Guwahati.

    “The concept of work from home though not new, but during the pandemic situation we saw the upsurge of this concept mostly in private sector rather than public sector, where paper work are still an indispensible part of office work. Hence work from home concept does not fit the work culture of govt employees. But government offices are going towards 100 digitalization and in near future we might get the privilege to work from home,” states Susmita Kar, a govt employee of the Deputy Inspector General of Police, CWR, Guwahati.

    “Work from home is a new norm because of the current Covid-19 situation and it has both its advantages and disadvantages; it depends sector to sector and varied from job role to job role as some professionals do field work and they don’t have the option of working from home. Also, if Covid-19 situation existed some years back then work from home wouldn’t have been possible, as back then we had technical limitations but today technology can facilitate work from home. We have the bandwidth to do video conferences right from our home space with 100+ people. The virtual team working is possible only because of technology advancement in our city today,” adds a representative of Reliance Jio, Guwahati.

    “Having done both I can verbalize that albeit working from home sounds astonishing, as it seems more flexible but we have to be very meticulous about making boundaries and keeping ourselves motivated. So if we do decide to work from home, we must make clear boundaries for ourselves. These may include the time we will be logging in to work, the area in the house we will be working in, not focusing into social networking, putting phone on silent etc.”, claims Jyotishman Pujari, Marketing Manager of FMCG sector.

    “Work from home is fine but office wants us back and we have to resume work. During this pandemic mankind’s safest bet is to stay indoors but few professionals like us do not have the luxury to choose work from home,” adds Sangeeta Leishangthem, a banker of the city.

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