Is WFH making people lazy and uncompetitive?- Sushant Dwivedy

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Is WFH making people lazy and uncompetitive- Sushant Dwivedi
Being physically present in office allows for spontaneous conversations and cross-team collaborations that foster new ideas. Face-to-face interactions build stronger professional relationships, trust, and camaraderie, which are vital for effective teamwork.

In Conversation With Sushant Dwivedy, Managing Director for India and the Philippines at SHL

Sushant is the Managing Director for India and the Philippines at SHL. He has more than 3 decades of experience in the Indian IT industry, having worked in hardware, software, networking, and has managed services businesses for companies like Microsoft, Xerox, NCR, and Avaya in leadership roles.

Sushant is an Electronics and Communication engineer from Osmania University and obtained a Post Graduate Diploma in Business Management from Xavier Institute of Management, Bhubaneshwar.

An avid speaker at industry forums, in his free time, Sushant enjoys reading and traveling along with occasional weekend biking trips.

Q- How do you see changing work culture in hybrid workplaces?

The concept of hybrid workplaces has revolutionized our approach to work. Employees have the freedom to choose between working remotely or coming to the office, depending on their preferences and the nature of their work, granting newfound flexibility.

Additionally, the rise of remote work has opened a multitude of opportunities for global collaboration and talent acquisition. It enables diverse teams to seamlessly collaborate across different locations and time zones, fostering an environment of diversity and inclusion.

By bringing together individuals from various backgrounds, remote work encourages the contribution of unique perspectives and skills, ultimately driving the achievement of shared goals.

This promotes diversity and inclusion, as individuals from various backgrounds can contribute their unique perspectives and skills to achieve common goals. Overall, increased flexibility enables individuals to effectively handle their work-life equilibrium by allowing employees to have greater control over their schedules and work arrangements.

Q- Why is working from the office important? Is WFH making people lazy and uncompetitive?

Working from the office has traditionally been the standard in the professional world, but the COVID-19 pandemic necessitated a shift to remote work arrangements. While remote work offers advantages like flexibility and reduced commuting time, there are several reasons why working from the office remains important.

Being physically present in office allows for spontaneous conversations and cross-team collaborations that foster new ideas. Face-to-face interactions build stronger professional relationships, trust, and camaraderie, which are vital for effective teamwork.

The office provides a clear work-life separation, reducing distractions and promoting productivity. Working from home can blur this boundary, leading to longer working hours and decreased focus.

Lastly, it cultivates a sense of belonging and organizational culture. Being present in the office helps employees feel connected to the company’s mission, values, and vision. However, the impact of remote work on productivity and competitiveness varies based on individual factors such as work habits, job satisfaction, and the nature of the work.

To prepare for success in a new world of work, organizations should deconstruct jobs into skills, recognize everyone’s potential, empower people managers, foster a strong and positive culture, prioritize employee autonomy, and invest in talent intelligence for agile decision-making and growth.

It is important to recognize that physical location alone does not determine productivity and competitiveness; other factors play significant roles.

Q- How do you see 4-Day Work Week in India and its impact on work culture?

The concept of a 4-day workweek refers to a work schedule in which employees work for four days a week instead of the traditional five days. While the idea of a shorter workweek has gained popularity in various countries, its implementation and acceptance vary. Implementing a four-day workweek is likely to violate India’s labour codes that came into effect in July 2022.

The average workday is anything from 8 to 10 hours, not exceeding 48 hours a week. That means, to have a four-day workweek, a person would have to work 12 hours a day. It’s important to note that labor laws and work-related policies are primarily determined at the state and company levels in India.

Switching to a four-day workweek requires adjustment from both employees and management – and sometimes customers and suppliers. It may involve adapting to new routines, redefining deadlines, and policies, and shifting priorities.

Flexibility becomes essential to accommodate unexpected events or urgent tasks without overwhelming employees. Therefore, any changes to work schedules, such as a 4-day workweek, would likely depend on individual companies or specific industries.

Q- What are the challenges in implementing 4- Day Work Week in India?

In the ever-changing economy of today, working smarter than harder has become normal. The rise of the 4-day work week has been fueled by the rise of advanced technology and data analytics. However, the 4-day working week comes with challenges and risks that can affect the company if not managed properly.

One challenge that employees can face is working longer hours than usual, often needing to put in extra time each day to complete their regular workload. This can lead to increased stress and burnout.

Additionally, implementing a four-day workweek may not be feasible for all roles or businesses, especially those that require continuous operations or involve managing multiple teams. Balancing work responsibilities and maintaining productivity within compressed schedules can pose challenges in such scenarios.

Q- Any concluding remarks?

Both 4-day workweek and Working from Home are dependent on industry, business model, and workforce.  The most critical dependency is people. Employees with strong accountability, the ability to use time efficiently, and adapt quickly to change will likely fit into new working environment dynamics.

If your company is considering changing aspects of the hybrid working model, it is important to review the readiness of the current workforce and to conduct a comprehensive pilot to put new ways of working into practice in different teams and/or countries, with measures of productivity and mechanisms to capture feedback in employee place.

To enable successful hybrid work, organizations should utilize objective data for fair talent processes, prioritize trust and belonging in their culture, foster continuous learning and connection, empower empathetic managers, and establish a central database for dynamic people data.

Understanding people, teams and the organization’s abilities to drive transformation by objectively assessing will help define the way forward.

Thank You Sushant!

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