People prefer WFH, fear using public transport due to Covid-19: Survey
About three-fourth of the respondents are inclined to WFH or want their companies to adopt other policy measures such as flexible working hours and staggered office schedule, the survey report saidUpdated: Sep 21, 2020, 14:01 IST
Coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic is still dissuading people from venturing out and travelling in public transport, as 74% workers are inclined to work from home (WFH), according to a joint survey of eight cities conducted by the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (Assocham) and consulting firm Primus Partners.
About three-fourth of the respondents are inclined to WFH or want their companies to adopt other policy measures such as flexible working hours and staggered office schedule, the survey report said.
“Our survey shows that 79% of the respondents in these eight cities or metropolitan regions were able to work from home during the pandemic. After the 68-day nationwide lockdown restrictions were lifted, we found that 74% of the respondents favoured WFH,” the report said.
The eight cities that the survey covered were Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Chennai, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Ahmedabad and Pune.
While 18% of the respondents were in favour of a 100% WFH policy after the lockdown, 56% of them favoured a partial WFH. The report stated that 26% of the respondents preferred to do their jobs at workplaces.
During the lockdown period 79% of these respondents did WFH, while 11% were on leave and 10% travelled to their respective offices, it said.
“Companies have also seen the benefits of WFH, as it becomes location agnostic, allow them to cut down cost on expensive real estate (which can be redeployed for employee benefits, training, research & development etc.) and hire fresh talents across the country without having to focus on relocation,” it said.
The report cited the example of a leading information technology (IT) firm based in Pune. The company recently made 112 new hires from Indore, Bhopal, Jabalpur, Vijayawada, Chandigarh, Patna and Nashik and asked them to do WFH on a permanent basis.
“This will allow employees to have a better work-life balance and not congest any of the bigger cities. Such initiatives will also lead to the growth of tier-2, 3 and 4 cities and towns in India,” it said.
The report stated that while public transport has largely been opened, 73% of the respondents would still prefer to use their own vehicles because of fear of contracting SARS-CoV-2, which causes Covid-19. “As a majority of office- goers prefer to work from home or inclined towards flexible working hours and staggered office schedules, public transportation in cities will undergo a radical shift,” said Nilaya Varma, chief executive officer (CEO) and co-founder, Primus Partners.
“To revive passengers’ sentiment and contribute towards building a safe ecosystem for commuters and drivers, transport operators need to adopt stringent hygiene guidelines and leverage technological solutions. These measures are essential, even as transport operators struggle with reduced footfall and lower capacity owing to social distancing guidelines,” he added.
Companies must also revise policies to incorporate a decentralised working structure in a bid to guard against pandemics in the near future.
Professionals surveyed exuded hope that companies would review and incorporate remote working, staggered working hours that would help ensure everyone did not report to work at the same point of time. This would also help lessen congestion in cities, he said.
Devroop Dhar, managing director (MD) and co-founder, Primus Partners, said, “The Covid-19 pandemic has led to significant transformation across industries, pushing them to embrace technological solutions across their value chain ...”
Corporate entities would also need to look at critical aspects such as information and data security, effective use of business collaboration and meeting tools and bringing in impactful employee engagement initiatives to prevent feelings of loneliness and social isolation, he said.
He said WFH also provides the opportunity to public transport authorities and governments to facilitate the adoption of contactless ticketing and digital payments to boost passengers’ confidence in the short term and realise the vision of digital India in the long run.