More men too now work­ing from home

Make Up Half Of Those Opt­ing For Lib­eral HR Pol­icy In Some Tech & Pharma Cos

The Times of India (New Delhi edition) - - Times Global - Vi­pashana V K & Reeba Zachariah

Mum­bai: Most pre­sume that the HR pol­icy of pro­vid­ing a work-from-home al­ter­na­tive is meant for and pre­ferred by women. But data re­veals a dif­fer­ent story — a sig­nif­i­cant num­ber of em­ploy­ees who availed this op­tion were men.

At No­var­tis In­dia, 44% of the em­ploy­ees who chose the flex­i­ble work pol­icy in 2018 were men. While at Capgem­ini, 50% of those who took the op­tion in the last six months were male em­ploy­ees. Overall, 22% of Capgem­ini’s em­ploy­ees used the work-from-home ar­range­ment since the pro­gramme’s launch in March this year. The In­dia unit of the French tech­nol­ogy ser­vices ma­jor em­ploys over 1 lakh peo­ple. At No­var­tis, more than 50% of the em­ploy­ees made use of the op­por­tu­nity in 2018. The pharma gi­ant has over 8,000 em­ploy­ees coun­try­wide.

Capgem­ini In­dia head (di­ver­sity & in­clu­sion) Gay­athri Ra­ma­murthy said that both men and women from the com­pany equally availed the flexi work op­tion and that was an in­di­ca­tion of a “so­cial re­al­ity that flex­i­bil­ity is the re­quire­ment of all em­ploy­ees, ir­re­spec­tive of gen­der”.

In­fosys head (HR) Richard Lobo agrees with Ra­ma­murthy. The Ben­galuru-based IT gi­ant al­lows em­ploy­ees to work from their homes for nine days in a month. “We have seen the pol­icy used by all em­ploy­ees, ir­re­spec­tive of gen­der,” Lobo said.

Em­ploy­ees work from home for a va­ri­ety of rea­sons, like tak­ing care of chil­dren or age­ing par­ents, com­plet­ing er­rands or at­tend­ing to other works at home. “The work-fromhome pol­icy al­lows em­ploy­ees to cus­tomise their sched­ule and man­age their pro­fes­sional and per­sonal re­spon­si­bil­i­ties in a bet­ter man­ner,” said No­var­tis In­dia head (peo­ple & or­gan­i­sa­tion) Anu­sia Pil­lay.

The pol­icy made a de­but in In­dia to keep up with the coun­try’s chang­ing so­ci­etal struc­tures — an in­crease in nu­clear fam­ily set-ups with both part­ners work­ing, dy­namic weather con­di­tions like heavy rains & ex­treme heat, crum­bling in­fra­struc­ture, and civic un­rest, among oth­ers.

“In Mum­bai, where flood­ing throws the city out of gear at least once dur­ing mon­soon (in fact, four times this year), the work-fromhome op­tion al­lows peo­ple to spend their time more pro­duc­tively from their res­i­dence, rather than be­ing on the road for hours,” Pil­lay added.

At food ser­vices and fa­cil­i­ties man­age­ment com­pany Sodexo In­dia, 10% of its 47,000 peo­ple work from home on any given work­day.

HR ex­perts said that the tra­di­tional work­ing hours of 9am to 5pm in of­fices have be­come a thing of the past. Com­pa­nies do not mind time flex­i­bil­ity as long as the work is done. “It is the out­come that mat­ters more than the num­ber of hours put in,” said Pil­lay.

Ankit Bansal of Sap­phire Hu­man So­lu­tions said, “Com­pe­ti­tion is driv­ing com­pa­nies to of­fer flex­i­ble work op­tions in a bid to con­trol at­tri­tion.”

How­ever, not all large and well-known or­gan­i­sa­tions are ready to of­fer the pol­icy to their em­ploy­ees. One of the big­gest home­grown em­ploy­ers said it doesn’t have such a pol­icy be­cause of client con­fi­den­tial­ity agree­ments and se­cu­rity rea­sons.

“If em­ploy­ees are al­lowed to work from home, they will have ac­cess to the sys­tem. Net­work se­cu­rity will not be ap­pli­ca­ble. And there could be chances of data breach,” said an ex­ec­u­tive from the com­pany, which has a staff strength run­ning into six dig­its.

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