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Wanna work from home?

Are you pissed off with the endless hours that you are spending in office? Cheer up, for there is a breather at least for those working in the Information Technology enabled Services sector! Swapnapriiya Manna gives you the insight.

india Updated: Aug 07, 2009 12:22 IST
Swapnapriiya Manna

The change in the work environment seems to have changed the idea of work itself. In August 2008, hoping to benefit both the employee and the employer, the Indian Government kick started work-from-home policy in the ITeS sector. But did the policy really work and benefit the ITeS sector?

According to a Manpower Inc. survey 63 per cent of the workforce globally wants work flexibility by 2015 and 84 per cent employers consider this policy an important assimilation tool.

Vandana Arora, assistant manager, quality, Genpact, who herself opted for the work-from-home option couldn't agree more. "I chose to work from home a year and an half back to manage my three-year old son. The work-from-policy at Genpact helped me maintain a work-life balance and increase productivity. I get to spend time with my son and also concentrate on work. I no longer need to worry about him being with a maid or worst being home alone," says Arora. Further, her career path continued to grow steadily as she recently got promoted.

Adding on, Rithima Seth, Assistant Manager, talent management, Zensar Technologies, says, "We look at creative solutions like home-based work etc to build a strategically focused work force and enable associates to achieve greater work/life balance. Currently, we have 26 associates who have opted for such an arrangement."

Apart from helping BPOs expand the talent pool available, homemakers, the differently-abled and part-timers have been included in the workforce. "Prior to this policy, there was attrition in the BPO sector, specially amongst women, because of the three-fold increase in the crime rate. This option made women more willing to work for BPOs and thus, increased the talent pool available for BPOs," says Deepti, a Bengaluru-based BPO employee.

"We have seen an increase in employee satisfaction and thereby, reduction in attrition. Attrition at Genpact has gone to three per cent which proves that the work-from-home policy is a win-win situation both for the employee and employer," says Anju Talwar, senior vice president, hiring and training, Genpact, which currently has 700 employees working from home.

In times of recession, the policy has helped companies cut infrastructure costs as they moved towards increasing operational efficiencies. "It has helped lower seat utilisation costs and provided telecommuting benefits to the organisation. Further, it has helped retaining talent lowering the cost of re-training and loss of knowledge," says Anju.

However, the work-from-home policy isn't hiccup free for the BPO sector. The nature of work at BPOs makes the execution of such a policy difficult. "A lot of projects need team work which is difficult to do over phone or through mails. Even while being in office at times it becomes difficult to manage teams. Physical presence makes a big difference in such cases," says Srikanth S, a transition manager at a Chennai-based BPO.

Further, information security is of paramount importance in the BPO industry. "Some clients are paranoid about how well their data is being handled. Implementing work from home policy involves huge security hassles. The policy being executed means getting approval from the clients, amending the information security policy and ensuring the company policies extend to the employees' place of stay," says Srikanth.