To work in the time of Corona has renewed the need to work from home (WFH). While it may have been a relatively old practice in western markets, it never got its due attention in the Indian market until the unfortunate outbreak few weeks ago. Now, that the ball has rolled, a lot depends on the workers who is availing it, may be for the first time, and their managers, who must manage the work at hand, to avail the best of this presented opportunity.
Public Relations (PR) profession has a unique advantage in optimally availing this prospect. The essential tools of any PR professional is a computer, a good internet connection and mobile phone. It depends on the person behind these tools to make good use of them to propel and help evolve a great PR professional. While we can’t discount the importance of working with peers and seniors under one roof, exchanging ideas, debating and critiquing any strategy; then it is equally important not to lose your own idiosyncrasies to bring out that uniqueness and add to the diversity in the team’s thought process. For a profession, which is all about communicating with a dynamic population like ours, such blend of points of view is a gift to a marketer with unknown possibilities.
For a novice still exploring many benefits of WFH, there are many that I easily recognised like quieter, less stressful and cosy environment, lesser stressful and more time for your family and yourself. Even for employers, it can become a blessing in disguises as they will save in rent in property, in utilities or regular office supplies without compromising on the work output. For optimum benefit for both the employer and employee availing the WFH option, it is better to have an understanding on clear WFH policies. For starters, it would be great to chalk out top priorities in the task list for the day. The lack of face to face interaction may bring in doubts. With the available online tools, it may be a good idea to have a morning team meeting where tasks for the day is chalked out and clearly prioritised with clear deadlines & fixed responsibilities. As Harvard Business Review said, ‘Remote work becomes more efficient and satisfying when managers set expectations for the frequency, means, and ideal timing of communication for their teams.’
There are some obvious benefits that may be true for any professional. At the top of this stack is time saved from daily commuting to work. For majority of us working in metros, it is a long commute from home to office daily with an average of one hour. WFH completely do away with this saving invaluable time which one can use to better work life balance. There are other ancillary benefits of WFH like savings in resources, ease in traffic movement that ultimately benefits environment. However, it may attract other distractions at home like answering repeated door bells.
With ‘social distancing’ becoming the new buzzword, an otherwise critique of WFH, it has now become its biggest strength. With a happy and ‘corona’ safe working environment, may spring a success if the productivity of professionals WFH goes much beyond their levels when they work from their offices. Hopefully, after this humanitarian crisis is over, it will be an interesting study to ascertain, based on empirical evidence, whether WFH can actually prove to be a serious candidate for paradigm shift in working conditions for time to come.
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