Sensitizing Work from Anywhere
Designation : - Doctoral Scholar (HR)
Organization : - Xavier School of Human Resource Management, Xavier University, Bhubaneswar
Other Writers : - Dr. Kalpana Sahoo - Assistant Professor in Organisational Behaviour at Xavier School of Human Resource Management, Xavier University, Bhubaneswar
It has been more than a year that the entire humanity is struggling with the covid pandemic. The impact of this pandemic on global economy has been massive leading to job losses, companies getting shutdown and the list goes on. On the face of challenges thrown by the pandemic, organisations have kept themselves afloat by accepting new ways of working. Work from Home (WFH) became permanent solutions for organisations like Google while still some organisations are struggling to accept it as a long-term solution especially in countries like lndia, requiring 15% of workforce to work in physical mode in places having curfews. Other places require their employees to work in their workplace in full-swing with different policies for different sectors. Covid crisis has brought work and home under one roof along with its challenges of managing families and work and be equally visible to our bosses.
One of the vicious assumptions of WFH is developing a work culture with 24/7 availability of an employee sitting in front of the laptop. To worsen the challenges associated with this 24/7 work culture, are other issues like schools and colleges closed. With best of the technologies and accessibilities available, WFH cannot be normal. Certain professions like IT, Finance, Consulting require constant availability of the employees and hence, WFH no longer holds good. With employees working in these "time-greedy" professions are required to work even when they are on vacations or enjoying their holidays. There has been a shift from 'Work from Home' to 'Work from Anywhere' (WFA). In the world of cellphones, internet, and laptops, WFA has more harmful assumptions because with more permeability of work into personal space requiring to fulfill the expectations of 'ideal-worker', taking a toll not only on employees but also on families' mental health. With WFA, an important issue that requires attention is not employee wellbeing but family wellbeing. During this pandemic, employees can't function well without accommodation for their family responsibilities. WFH along with families want a better fit between the two. It is very important to create a feasible fit and not an idealized one. Travel companies for trekking or hiking are calling it 'Work from Himalayas' in order to bring a holistic approach to family wellbeing. Further with the advent of AI and IoT, the availability of smart wearables also makes WFA possible. Work-Life Balance and Work from Home have gone through a paradigm transition to become Work integration with work from anywhere.
Leaders and bosses should be aware and be given opportunity to allow flexibility in attending meetings or delivering some assignments before the deadline. They should be aware of the fact that in current covid times, quality of work is more important than quantity. An age-old practice of rewarding the fastest fingers first should be discouraged while encouraging a productive work day with better responses. Covid and WFA have caught our attention to performance management - the process of reviewing work when working from anywhere. In light of the above discussion, we think the following points can enhance productivity without hindering family wellbeing and organisational goals :
Reducing property footfalls : The 'post Covid-workplace' envisage a hybrid home-office setup where an employee does not need to be physically present in the office yet, registers his daily productivity. This concept calls for flexibility on part of organisational setup thus reducing property footfalls. For example, organisations like HSBC Holdings Plc and Lloyds Banking Group Plc have predicted 40% property footprint reduction and projecting 20% cut in office space.
Expansion of Talent Pool with Right Attitude : Geographical and locational options have always been a huge hindrance for migrating or relocating from place to another place. To add to the woes of living a city of your comfort, there are additional duties including parental care, children's education. WFA will lead to solving such problems of relocation which will eventually expand or attract a wide talent pool for the organisations without worrying about any locational restrictions.
Smart Work and Flexi Policy : Team meetings have had been in-person till current times. WFA calls for imbibing smart work and flexi policy of logging in from anywhere convenient. This would allow a great deal of flexibility on the part of the employees to deliver the best to the organisation without the fear of losing the job. In current times, what is important is be virtually present for the work and the organisation so that organisations also feel to reciprocate and allow flexibility.
Jeeta Sarkar - Doctoral Scholar (HR) at Xavier School of Human Resource Management, Xavier University, Bhubaneswar
Dr. Kalpana Sahoo - Assistant Professor in Organisational Behaviour at Xavier School of Human Resource Management, Xavier University, Bhubaneswar