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It took a pandemic for India Inc to accept the benefits of working from home

A majority of Indian employers—particularly in traditional industries—do not allow work from home. Even as new-age startups are open to remote working, at larger companies, it’s an option that is often offered as a perk or for special needs. The coronavirus outbreak has, however, made remote working a necessity overnight. Over recent weeks, several Indian companies have mandated their staff to work from home in an attempt to socially distance people and reduce the spread of Covid-19.

But why did Indian companies wait for a pandemic to adopt a practice that has many benefits, for both employees and employers?

“With globalisation, teams are spread all over the world and technology facilitates us to work from anywhere, anytime,” said Harriet Molyneaux, managing director of Hot Spots Movement, a London-based specialist research consultancy focused on the future of work. “The rise of the gig economy means that many people work for themselves and do this from their own homes as a cost-effective solution to office space.” At Delhi-based software testing startup Wingify, the staff is “learning to use existing technology more efficiently and creatively” while working from home, said founder and chairperson Paras Chopra. The company’s staff of over 230 has been working remotely for about 15 days now. “The silver lining we will see are the benefits to the environment as more conferences go virtual,” he added.

Despite all its benefits, a sudden shift to remote working can prove disruptive.