As the threat of Covid-19 pandemic wanes, more and more companies are asking their employees to come back to offices. With working from the comfort of their homes becoming a habit too good to give up, conglomerate Mahindra & Mahindra (M&M) counters that working from home cannot help employees move up the career graph within the organisation.

Anish Shah, Managing Director and CEO, M&M Group said, “I can get my work done by working from home, but that’s a transactional outcome. But if I want to really thrive in the organisation, then I need to build relationships because it’s the relationships that are going to help me get difficult actions done. And that’s difficult when you are working from home.” Shah was speaking at ABP Network’s ‘Ideas of India’ summit.

More than 2.56 lakh employees work at M&M in 100 countries. With interests in automobiles, tractors, hospitality, real estate, IT and financial services, M&M is one of the biggest employers in India from the private sector. The Mumbai-headquartered group is firming up HR plans to get its employees return to their offices.

“We are looking at work-from-home (WFH) closely in terms of what forms it should take. Should it take the form that everyone can work from home, whenever they want? Should it take a form where you have a couple of days of work from home and the rest in office? Because we recognise the important thing that is lost there, which is the ability to create and innovate; be able to meet each other,” Shah added.  

Study on WFH

While M&M is one among several Indian companies keen to bring its employees back to offices, research shows that Indians find themselves more productive when working from home. HR heads of some companies are even encountering instances where the employee is willing to quit the job if WFM is discontinued.

According to a survey by research and consulting firm Gartner, nearly five in ten Indian hybrid workers consider themselves more productive when working remotely thanks to the absence of traffic woes which typically costs 3-4 hours each way.

Shah points out another crucial aspect in employing WFH relating to being unbiased. M&M is working out a plan that will help it achieve a work-life balance for its employees.

“One aspect of work from home is being fair. Why should some people work from the office and others from home? I don’t have an answer to it today but that’s part of the discussion we are having internally and getting input from various others. What we will come out with is some flexibility that allows people to balance and collaborate, build relationships and move up in their careers,” Shah added.