With the number of confirmed cases of coronavirus is rapidly rising in India, most companies in the country are asking their employees to work from home. However, reports suggest that Indian firms are struggling to deal with this scenario, which has now caused scores of Indians to search for jobs that exclusively allow work from home options. That's what Google trends suggest.
The novel coronavirus has infected 1,69,316 people globally and led to more than 6,500 deaths. Italy yesterday recorded 368 new deaths from the novel coronavirus, its highest one-day increase to date. In India, the number of confirmed cases has risen to 110, with two deaths.
Consequently, a majority of companies, including IT companies and media organisations, have started rolling out a work from home option for their employees. This has been done to pave the way for social distancing, which right now, officials say, is the only way to keep COVID-19 at bay.
But are the organisations in India equipped to deal with the scenario?
Obviously not, especially those organisations whose nature of business demands a lot of travel and face to face interactions-- this includes cab drivers and food delivery person. The availability of advanced digital tools, however, allow a large number of organisations to implement work from home - if they plan well.
While it makes perfect sense for IT employees to work from remote locations via video conferencing and collaboration tools seamlessly - especially in the case of tech giants like Google or Microsoft -- workers from the non-IT companies and small and medium enterprises (SMBs) are the worst-hit in India as most of them have little or no clue about how these messaging and collaboration tools work amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Consequently, many companies who do not have resources required for remote working haven't yet switched to work from home. As a result, many people are currently searching for work from jobs in India as we speak. Google trends show that in the past few days, more and more Indians have been looking up jobs which offer a permanent work from home option or jobs which have adequate resources for remote working, especially in times of crisis like this.
This surge in search for work from home jobs proves two things.
One, the panic is very real.
With social distancing being the only way to avoid contracting the disease, more and more people want to work for companies that are ready to allow their employees to work remotely if the need arises.
Secondly, could this be proof that India is lagging behind in the work from home culture as compared to other countries?
A study conducted by IPSOS showed that at least one-third of the total working population in India work from home, while more than fifty percent employees preferred to work from home because it saved time spent on commute and also paved the way for a healthier work-life balance.
Another survey had also revealed that work from home boosts productivity. One of the main reasons why working from home hasn't gained momentum in India is because of the stigma associated with it - that people might not be taking it seriously. But the survey revealed otherwise. The study showed that people who worked at home found it easier to concentrate as compared to people who worked a full shift in the office.
In short, the remote working culture is here and it's probably time companies came up with robust strategies to implement such policies. Not only does that prepare the company better for crises like the coronavirus outbreak, but also help strengthen employee-employer relationships and boost productivity. With an increased number of people searching for work for home jobs, this should serve as a wake-up call for organisations who are still struggling to incorporate the same.