The Changing Landscape of the Indian Workplace

Harsh Lambah, Country Manager, Regus IndiaWith an experience of over 25 years, Harsh is currently working with one of the world's leading flexible workspaces that builds the key drivers for the growth

The workplace in India, as we’ve known it, is rapidly changing. The need for a healthy work-life balance, difficulties faced by longer commuting times and higher commute costs as well as the recent start-up boom have all transformed the way Indians work today. Productivity and profitability is paramount, but so is the employees’ well-being. Organizations understand that to be successful, it is critical to retain good talent and in their endeavour to do so, the work environment is now becoming increasingly flexible.

The Importance of Work-Life Balance
Work hours are no longer the only measure for productivity. This is particularly excellent for women who are returning from their motherhood break, and also for professionals looking for a better work-life balance. In one of the surveys that Regus conducted globally in January 2015, over 68 percent of the respondents reported that fixed working hours are no longer suitable for them to complete their duties. Over 50 percent reported that traffic jams cause delays in getting to work or meetings, and there fore hamper their productivity. Shortening or doing away with the commute would definitely help them stay focused on work without the stress of commuting. This is why several organizations today provide this flexibility to work remotely, there by enhancing their productivity while ensuring a work-life balance.

Some organisations also encourage employees to work from home. This is a particularly recent development to the Indian work scene. In the west, work from home has been a growing trend. The only challenge with working from home though is the need to create a special space for work and that is difficult to do in most Indian households. This then forces professionals to work out of cafes and that’s not always ideal. With the rapid emergence of co-working spaces and specialized office spaces like Regus, professionals and organizations now have options that are both convenient and productive. It’s much
easier to conduct meetings, interviews or video conferences out of these spaces rather than at a cafe or one’s home.

Making Remote Working Productive
Remote working too is not without its set of challenges. Remote workers, simply because they spend a great deal of time working away from the larger workforce, are in regular need of connecting and interacting with the rest of their team so as to keep their goals aligned and skill-sets refreshed. Measuring a remote worker’s output and productivity can occasionally be a challenge for their reporting managers, though technology has greatly helped to bridge this gap in a very cost effective manner.

The needs of remote workers are strongly driving the take up of cloud applications that provide them with cost-effective access to office tools wherever they are

More and more businesses are now rapidly embracing flexible working and implementing successful remote management processes. These processes will be critical as remote working gains more popularity over time. Remote management is expected to play an integral part in strengthening employee relations, motivation and loyalty. It will be essential for firms to start training remote workers and their managers so as to ensure that productivity is maximized and to keep levels of engagement and work satisfaction high.

Technology: Making Productivity Possible Anytime, Anyplace
The Regus Global Survey of September 2015 also revealed that 76 percent of business people globally believe believe that senior management can actually become more productive if they are able to work flexibly, whilst 63 percent manage a remote worker at least part of the time. 61 percent of firms also use flexible working as a way of attracting and retaining staff, highlighting the important role that flexible working has in boosting productivity and motivating or rewarding talented staff. With the benefits increasingly becoming clear to both parties, it is no surprise that 54 percent of respondents revealed that their companies are looking to increase the amount of remote workers.

One major challenge remote workers face is that of getting overlooked when they are not in the office. Instant Messaging tools, however, are today revolutionizing the way workers communicate and helping remote workers show they are available, connected and quick to respond.

The needs of remote workers are strongly driving the take up of cloud applications that provide them with costeffective access to office tools wherever they are. Online tools are also helping to ease some of the other pain traditionally associated with remote working especially through the proliferation of efficient and secure document sharing services. The future of the Indian workplace therefore will be impacted tremendously by remote working, flexible working and improved communication tools.