Working from home has increased performance and could become permanent for several roles, with venue limitations no longer a concern, managers at leading firms said.
At the CII-FMCG Summit on Wednesday, Laxman Narasimhan, global chief executive officer at healthcare manufacturer Reckitt Benckiser, said, “Remote work is shaping up well and has brought many people into the workforce who were previously hampered by personal commitments.” “People do not have to travel all the way for hours and there is a lot of flexibility.”
Worldwide, Reckitt Benckiser has around 40,000 employees and considers India as a key growth sector.
Varun Berry, managing director of Britannia Industries, said The 9 am-to-5 pm working hours are a thing of the past.” “Working from the office may come back at some stage, but it may still not be what it used to be.”
Both firms are among those who reported high revenue this year despite the pandemic and returned to 100 percent manufacturing capability a month after the announcement of the national lockdown.
According to a survey by software solutions company WorkInSync, with concerns of the infection persisting, only 10 percent of staff returned to the workplace at the end of November relative to March.
The only downside to operating from home was that new hires and trainees were unable to watch seniors at work, executives said. To solve this issue, businesses are focusing on hybrid models.
We had a lot of apprehensions when work began from home, as in metros the transit time is easily two-three hours. But as it turns out, home work has increased efficiency and versatility to get more women into the workforce,’ said Saugata Gupta, managing director of consumer goods manufacturer Marico.
He said that Marico was trying out different models to align trainees with the culture of the company.
Hindustan Coca-Cola Beverages, the largest bottling partner of Coca-Cola India with 6,500 direct workers, has allowed a substantial portion of its staff to operate permanently from home. Employees who do not need to be physically present at factories or distribution sites are given the alternative.
Tech giants Facebook, Twitter, and Microsoft have all launched long-term work-from-home strategies, while consumer goods firms have risen in double digits over the past two quarters, exploiting an increase in in-home use of grooming products and processed foods.