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Study Says 70% Indians Choose Work From Home For The Rest Of 2020. So Can We Make It Easier For Women To Do That, Please?

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The ‘work from home’ situation during this coronavirus pandemic has made me and several of my friends and co-workers realise that the grass is indeed greener on the other side. When we worked out of an office, which involved getting up on time, the daily commute, and lots of meetings that could’ve been emails, we wished we had the luxury to work from the comfort and solitude of our home. Now, having done that for close to five months, we wish otherwise. The lack of proper desk and chairs, missing the faces of our coworkers (yes, even the stupid ones), and those Zoom meetings that go on longer than physical ones have made us realise that office wasn’t all that bad. At least, we had a schedule, right? However, these first-world problems seem to be secondary, because safety is paramount. Which is why, 70% of India’s workforce has chosen to work from home for the remainder of 2020 instead of going back to the office.

A survey of 1800 employees across 550 companies and 15 industrial sectors was conducting by Xpheno, a staffing firm recently served us with the results where as much as 70% of the people working in India, are inclined towards the WFH culture. The companies surveyed included some top IT firms, Big 4 consulting firms, e-commerce companies, MNCs, banking and auto companies. The survey found out that only 3 out of 10 employees were willing to return to office. Most of these people were in managerial roles. The rest 70% were comfortable working from home and out of their pyjamas.

Logistically, it makes complete sense. Other than the major risk of contracting COVID-19 through commute and contact inside office, there are several other things in play. For starters, public transport in hotspot cities like Mumbai has not been fully activated. Commuting, then, would require personal vehicles, and that adds to both the fuel cost and commute time. A huge chunk of corporate employees are working on slashed salaries. This means bearing additional costs of conveyance and possible risk of medical expenses if they contract the virus are being avoided as much as possible. There’s also the concern about putting children or elderly members in the family at risk by risking yourself to become a carrier. Bottom line? Work from home is extremely cost effective because you save conveyance expenses, avoid risk, and some can even enjoy minor flexibilities in schedules.

Also Read: As A Woman, I’ll Always Choose Working From Office Over Work From Home. Here’s Why.

Then there are those who’ve gotten a chance to work on themselves, or side hustles or projects due to work from home, which would not have been possible if they worked out of an office. Oh, and let’s not forget, working in your PJs as opposed to formals? Who wants to give that up, right?

This survey yields a positive sign for India Inc, which hasn’t given much thought to a remote working future. As global giants like Google, Twitter and Facebook announce extended work from home policies until 2021, the world is undergoing a tilt shift towards remote working. In India, there could still be barriers to that, because spotty WiFi connections, lack of proper space, and over-population means not everyone can have that fancy work-desk and quiet corner to work from home comfortable. In fact, as a woman who is part of this workforce, I can assuredly tell you that given a choice, I probably wouldn’t opt for work from home. It is hard for Indian women, who’re laden with responsibilities stacked as high as the Statue of Unity, to enjoy the comforts of work from home like their male counterparts, thanks to patriarchy-dictated gender norms at home.

Also Read: #Voices: Study Says Women Who Work From Home Suffer From ‘Double Burden Syndrome’ Where Deadlines And Domestic Duties Are Both Their Responsibility

If you’re a wife, mother and daughter-in-law, you’ll be swimming in household chores because they’re your duty, and doing them guarantees some kind of marital peace. If you’re just a daughter and living with parents, you’ll probably not want to let your mom do everything and that guilty conscience is such a nudger. If you’re living alone, that changes things, but only if you’re not OCD about cleanliness and chores because your mom trained you so. And let’s not forget women have to struggle twice as hard as men to prove they’re worthy of their positions, roles and promotions.

Which is why this survey’s result surprises me, especially since we have no way of knowing what the gender ratio was. Or am I delusional in thinking that Indian working women are unhappy with this situation? Or maybe they’re so used to it that they prefer the flexibility that work from home accord to do household chores? As opposed to having to do them before going to work or after returning from it? Guess, only time will tell!

Also Read: Studies Show That Women Working Remotely During Pandemic Are More Stressed Than Men. Especially Women Techies


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