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Work-from-home unfeasible: HR experts

Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal, at an emergency cabinet meeting on Sunday to discuss Delhi’s air pollution crisis, requested companies to encourage work-from-home, but human resource professionals said the proposition may not be implementable.

cities Updated: Nov 07, 2016 11:07 IST
Rozelle Laha
Pollution in Delhi

Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal, at an emergency cabinet meeting on Sunday to discuss Delhi’s air pollution crisis, requested companies to encourage work-from-home, but human resource professionals said the proposition may not be implementable.(Arun Sharma/HT PHOTO)

Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal, at an emergency cabinet meeting on Sunday to discuss Delhi’s air pollution crisis, requested companies to encourage work-from-home, but human resource professionals said the proposition may not be implementable.

“Work from home is a feasible idea for not more than 10% to 15% of the workforce in Delhi. Companies in the national capital region (NCR), especially Gurgaon, have more young employees who need to have constant face-to-face interaction at work,” said industry veteran and a former board member of Infosys, TV Mohandas Pai.

Till Delhi’s air quality improves, Pai, who is now the chairman of Aarin capital partners, advises startups employees to stick to their offices for better productivity.

In sectors such as manufacturing, hotels, medical services, sales and service wherein service is rendered at the point of presence, work-from-home arrangement cannot work. On the other hand, in sectors such as software companies and offshoring, such an arrangement may work, albeit for a short time, as also for enabling areas in any company of finance, HR, marketing etc, said HR professionals.

“This is an opportunity for organisations to relook workflow to determine what work can be safely managed from home in such an emergent situation to maintain business continuity,” said SV Nathan, chief talent officer at consultancy firm Deloitte India. “Crucial to success of work-from-home is the necessary technology support and infrastructure at home.”

On similar lines, Dony Kuriakose, director, EDGE Executive Search said, “Technology today enables distance working. This needs pre-planning along with a clear understanding of the expectations and any constraints. Managed correctly, it could enable better productivity with personal convenience.”

At mobile wallet and e-commerce platform Paytm, “Besides offering the flexibility of working from home for certain roles, we are also encouraging them to use teleconferencing instead of stepping outdoors,” said Amit Sinha, senior VP (HR). Employees in customer services, product management and the technology support teams, however, do not have the option to work from home.

Sonia Dhawan, deputy general manager Paytm, said the company is planning to install air purifiers on every floor, buy more plants and distribute masks among its employees. Paytm’s founder and CEO Vijay Shekhar Sharma and his family have moved out of Delhi due to ill health as a result of the high pollution levels.