Research Analyst, with a mandate to cover real estate, but often strays into imaginary castles in the air. Women and finance is another of my interests, being a woman and all. I believe in rebirth and evolution into a higher life form (ala journalist).

Meera Siva

Work from hill station

| Updated on August 23, 2013 Published on August 23, 2013

workfromhome

The war of words between politicians invariably never brings up any food for thought. The recent exception was the argument regarding Jayalalithaa’s absence from Chennai. This brings up an important debate on the importance of place of work and pros and cons of working from home.

Way to work

CM, in her rejoinder to the accusation that she is not at work, brought up many aspects to show that one can get things done irrespective of where one is, thanks to technology. Unfortunately though, flexible working has been under attack from those in technology – with the likes of Yahoo’s Marissa Mayer who banned work from home.

Home work

The reasons stated for requiring one to show up at work are that it helps interaction and team work. It also makes it easy for managers to know who is in and arrange meetings etc. The unstated reason is that there is no trust. To manage those working remotely or working flexible hours, a lot of home work is needed by managers to set measurable goals and monitor progress. We are all used to the industrial era where the hours at work was a measure of productivity. The shift to knowledge economy where the output is more intangible has not yet translated to change in work habits.

Home advantage

For a country such as India where the road infrastructure or public transport is poor, not commuting daily to work has its advantages. Our current account deficit (CAD) can reduce if the vehicles plying to work is reduced. Given the exchange rate and the huge subsidy for petrol and diesel, it may be quite a patriotic move! Not just that, productivity may increase from the time saved in commute. Children may also benefit as the parents are close by. Health may improve overall due to reduced commute stress and pollution.

Agriculture, weaving – our traditional occupations – were work from home and did not require commute. Is it suitable now? Jayalalithaa may be quite efficient working from Kodanad but we cannot expect the same from all of us who have to manage power outage and poor broadband connectivity. Still, we could be open to having work and home close together, in more ways than one.

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Published on August 23, 2013
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