Working from home yet to catch up with Indian execs

Tags: Careers

Regus survey finds 7 out of 10 employees not comfortable with the concept

Working from home is yet to catch up as a healthy practice among the Indian employees, notwithstanding the fact that it cuts down one’s commuting time and daily travelling cost. There are more reasons than one why this is yet to become a popular and practical option. According to a recent global survey by the LSE-listed and Luxembourg-headquartered Regus, world’s largest provider of flexible workplaces, with products and services ranging from fully equipped offices to professional meeting rooms, business lounges and the world’s largest network of video communication studios, over seven out of ten people surveyed, said they were regularly put off by their kids or family demanding more attention.

The survey was conducted among over 24,000 business executives from over 90 countries during September 2012. Of them as many as 508 respondents were from India. These were sourced from Regus’ global contacts database of over 1 million business-people worldwide, which is highly representative of senior managers and owners in business across the globe.

“Working from home can clearly affect your concentration and productivity. Employees are naturally keen to benefit from flexible working practices, so they can avoid lengthy commutes, and work the hours that suit them, in order to improve their work-life balance. But the findings of the recent survey suggest that a professional environment close to home is preferable to actual home-working, so as to avoid strain on families, to project a professional image, and to improve overall productivity,” Madhusudan Thakur, regional vice president, South Asia, Regus, told FC.

The Regus study said that for Indian workers the three biggest issues when working from home are: children or family demanding attention (68 per cent), children, family or pets disturbing work telephone calls (51 per cent), household noises such as the bell ringing or the washing machine spinning (45 per cent). Besides, some important health related issues also cropped up. Nearly 28 per cent complained of bad posture at home due to their unsuitable home office arrangements – good posture is critical to ensuring that workers do not suffer repetitive strain injury and permanent damage. Lack of a proper work surface is also a problem for a third (32 per cent) of respondents. Altogether, 15 different issues were identified as being obstacles to productively working from home.

“As more people experience it (working from home), many are also discovering the downsides. Personal life needs to adapt to the professional activities that are taking place and that’s not always easy. In addition to our survey findings, there are reports of home-workers feeling lonely, alienated and cut off from colleagues. It seems that office ‘face-time’ also plays an important role in helping workers secure promotions, with employees that work from home being overlooked even in firms that actively encourage staff to work from home at least occasionally,” said Thakur.


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