Working from home has not been easy on everybody. While a section of the workforce is sitting at home without work, another section is overburdened with work.
The IT services industry is more equipped than most to facilitate a remote working environment for its employees. Yet, work has doubled owing to the new terms and conditions that organisations have been forced to work in.
A senior ITes professional who did not wish to be named, says “In many cases it is because of the kind of work one has to do according to the job role. In addition, the senior leadership has a lot on their plates as well.”
Having to establish movement of the teams and set them up for working is a challenge in these times,” he explains
Tasks that would be stretched to the next working day are now demanded to be fulfilled in 15 minutes, because employees are sitting at home
Let us take the example of a team leader who deals with multiple stakeholders including the client, the team members and the management. For him/her, working from home has become more taxing than working from an office. This is primarily a communication crisis.
Typically, a team leader for a client project would first have a discussion with the team members followed by a consultation with the leadership team and then relay the information to the client. When the client’s feedback is received, the same process starts again, but this time in reverse, beginning with the management and ending with a briefing with the team.
Clearing doubts takes up a lot of time as well. Employees sitting next to each other in the office are able to clarify each other’s doubts easily, regarding any new project guidelines or what is mentioned in the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) manual. But this is not possible in the present work-from- home scenario. People are not used to looking at guideline documents because they can always just seek help from their neighbour in the adjacent cubicle.
Now, if employees have to get their doubts cleared, they have to call another person.
Therefore, more time is taken to do the same task, which would otherwise have been completed in less. Moreover, due to the overwhelming amount of calls people make or are engaged in, not everyone is available to help a fellow employee in need. One person may even have to reach out to five different people before getting hold of someone who can help.
The senior professional also adds that the ability to work on newer skills and newer projects has taken a hit and productivity might get impacted. For some employees, it is twice the work because a five-minute task may now consume up to 40 minutes of their time.
Likewise, the senior managers are also hard-pressed for time. As the shift to remote work has been an overnight affair, leaders are busy managing their own work and facilitating their employees as well.
Sriharsha Achar, president-HR, HDFC ERGO General Insurance, elaborates that another reason the senior leaders are working more is because, they are involved in multiple groups, such as a war room, a task force or a committee preparing new guidelines for when the lockdown is going to be lifted.
“Tasks that would be stretched to the next working day are now demanded to be fulfilled in 15 minutes, because employees are sitting at home,” elucidates Achar.
On the other hand, there are also tasks that would require two days, but are now being stretched over 14 days, according to Achar. “Even if a guy drafts a proposal for the management to look over, people are not available to review it on time,” he adds.