Since March 2020, I have been working from home. Although I am in the USA I have worked with my team in Chennai, India. And there are team members in the Central time zone. I am writing this post after working in this mode for the last few months, as I think I know enough now to conclude. I will share my thoughts on Can IT Employees Work From Home.
So, Can IT Employees Work From Home?
I think yes, IT can eventually shift to Work from home mode, especially in onshore. But, at offshore locations, or even where freshers are trained will take time. In fact, freshers who are learning the work or other skills need to watch and learn. And that is usually easier when the trainees are near the experienced folks.
In the scrum model, the team is supposed to be collocated. While most companies adopted to scrum, but they defined their own agile scrum. And often teams are not collocated. And due to that communication is a challenge. But the latest communication tools such as Zoom or MS teams are lifesavers.
Both TCS and Infosys have commented that a major chunk of their workforce will move to work from home mode, I see huge merit to that. I am in the onsite location for more than 9 years now, and I can function just as fine if not better if I am working from home. In the initial days when you need to learn few things, it is easier if all team members are collocated, otherwise, as long as you have 24/7 power and internet, you will function just fine. In fact, you save on commute time and other hassles, so you might be more productive.
The employers would be happy because in the long term they will save money on administrative costs and on real estate. But initially, they will need to invest in laptop and security (websense) software. But our managers are not used to trusting employees and employees are also not used to working in an unmonitored environment. So, I am not sure how that part will work out. When I used work in India, I saw the culture of employees staying back till late at night to please the manager and others in the team. Otherwise, it would have impacted the rating. anyway, let’s go back to the subject.
While offshore can function from work from home, in onshore I do not think 100% of work from home is possible for very different reasons.
In India work from home has some real challenges. Let me list down a few as I faced while I was working with my team-
- People lose power, laptop dies, mobile dies.
- Internet is not stable, calls and video chat becomes a problem
- Small rooms, noisy environment might be embarrassing when you are in a call
- As I mentioned, people are not used to working unmonitored and that is a problem, they are often not online when they are supposed to be
Now, here are few other issues I faced in calls where mostly people from America were there-
- Wife talking while husband is in call – husband forgot to mute the phone
- Listening to Bruno Marsh while at call – forgot to mute the phone etc
While the people in India have basic infrastructure issues and those can be fixed easily but those will take time, people in the USA do not have similar problems. But the client might want the consultants onsite. So, I do not think it will be 100% work from home here in the US. My current client is waiting for the pandemic to end so we can report in the office.
How The Work From Home will Change the World As We Know It?
Since this blog is on investments, I want to share some other thoughts I had, due to increasing traffic, I always pondered on the idea that the future might have us in home, working. That means more business for collaborative apps, firewalls, antiviruses.
On the other hand, companies can negotiate better on salaries. Fewer expenses on relocation expense, work from home means no relocation expense and salaries will be less as there would not be a cost of living allowance. On the other hand, employees will have a stable life, and real estate prices would not be an issue. In major cities rental and real estate prices actually see a deflationary pressure. Quality of life might increase as employees will spend less time in traffic and maybe invest those hours in the gym or yoga.
My last thought on Can IT Employees Work From Home is we cannot, it is very difficult to communicate and keep a tab on all employees.