Work from Home – A phrase that for years has made us lesser mortals jealous of the First world countries and then India once the IT boom with the large companies came and offered the facilities.

This phrase took significant flak a couple of weeks ago when Yahoo decided to review it. Every free lancer worth their salt, cried about their loss of freedom etc; forget that it may have not even affected them directly.

Every newspaper, magazine has carried an article as have many blogs – personal and otherwise. Most have been WFH (working from home) and are women – at least the ones that I have read, and are wax eloquent on the benefits, agitated that men and others think that they’re slacking off, will not work.

What is surprising is WFH is probably not literally WFH but more like remote work – using a nearby cafe, open air place, friend’s place amongst others.

When you apply this to the Indian perspective AND yes I did so. Over the past couple of weeks, spoke to a lot of women, men, HR people, youngsters to try and understand the hue and cry. Some observations based on these conversations:

  • This WFH is restricted to a few industries – IT, Media probably feature amongst the top.
  • The belief is that this can be availed by those with
    • Support system – in laws, parents, maids
    • Infrastructure – where in Bombay would you have space, connectivity etc
  • It is better to work from Office where administrative and infrastructure aspects are taken care.
  • It gives them a breather whilst commuting/time away from the unnecessary demands of the family.
  • Does not intrude on the family time – difficult to be disciplined when staying in joint family
  • The % of MNC even Indian is too negligible to make an impact
  • And many many others.

Almost everybody believed that India has to grow much more in terms of Infrastructure, culture before such aspects can actually work. And as families go nuclear, this would also gain acceptance.

I belong to the Sandwich Generation and have had occasions to practice WFH not as a ‘Perk’ or convenience but necessity and found at times it really helped, whilst at times it increased my stress dramatically. And given the fact that more than 80% companies in India are Owner managed, their dire need for Face time (And not the iOS one) and hours worked, it is mostly a losing battle, so to speak.

I fail to understand the outrage about this entire thing, but then it has been mostly the elite intellectuals who have directly not even been impacted or are relevant to it. Majority of the workforce today would be happy working 81/2 hours 5 days a week.

I would welcome your thoughts on this topic and before I end a Question – “Given the diktat, how many have resigned or are going to resign over the next 6-12 months from Yahoo”

Written by AD
ex waiter, angadia, travel agent, dotcomer, dukaandaar, marketeer, people watcher. appreciates single malt, food, friends