IES's Management College and
Research Centre

Work from Home or Office – Dilemma

Priyanka Oza, Assistant Professor, IES’s Management College and Research Centre
May 29, 2023

There has been a major shift in work culture post pandemic and most of the companies have adapted to the change quite wholeheartedly whereas some organizations are still in a dilemma and are continuing the traditional work from office culture.

The pandemic has brought us many shocking, pleasant and unpleasant realizations of life. One of the most important realization is that no matter where you are, work doesn’t stop and nor does basic functioning of your organization. The only difference is there is no office to go to, but you are carrying office everywhere you go. This helped employees to be closer to their families during the time of crisis and also taking time out for their own activities.

It has been almost a year that our life has been back to normal (touchwood 100 times) and the question we still ponder upon is, what style of working is beneficial to the employees. From the organization point of view, in India, there is still attachment towards working from office as the mindset is developed in a certain way. Indian organizations feel that employees’ productivity is better from office and employers can keep a tab on employees if they are at office but the same cannot happen from home. What the organizations fail to understand is that the scenario is absolutely the other way round.

Yes, work from office has its own benefits like it drives a sense of belonging, fosters beautiful friendships and professional relationship, helps in building networks which eventually helps in professional life, encourages collaboration and teamwork, helps strengthen interpersonal relationships, etc. A face-to-face interaction is required to facilitate collaboration, build relationships, solve complex challenges and generate ideas. All of this may not be possible if one does not experience the office culture and environment.

But, at the same time, employers need toa understand that every employee faces different challenges in life. There are cases where the travel time is too much, especially in a city like Mumbai, wherein the employee is dead at the end of the day. The productivity at office may actually be lesser for in some cases where the work culture and environment is either too stressful and toxic or it is extremely free environment that people just end up gossiping more and working less. Though continuous remote working also makes things difficult as in India many people do not have access to basic infrastructure required to work remotely, the work hours extend for longer time and in many cases it diffuses work-life balance.

So, what is the moot point of this discussion? After evaluating these pros and cons, organizations may have to rethink on their working arrangements and hybrid working is what they may have to consider over the years. There can be flexibility given to certain set of employees who are

1.     Having a commute time of more than 90 minutes one way

2.     Female employees who have just delivered a child and wants to continue working but cannot come to office

3.     Employees who have to take care of elderly or specially-abled family member

4.     Employees whose physical presence is not required at all the times in office

Having said that, I personally feel that recently graduated students should DEFINITELY work from office, if given a chance, as the start of the career should be a learning curve for them and they can learn a lot from one on one interactions rather than sitting behind the screens. They also can have hybrid working if they fall into the above four categories but they need to spend at least 3-4 days a week physically to transform to a better version of your own self.

Read more