Initially we weren’t happy being forced to work from home for months. But, now that it has become the new normal, most of us would hate to give up our ability to control location or working hours. There are advantages and disadvantages. First let’s take a look at the advantages.
There are many surveys including the one conducted by the author in his company which point to an increase in productivity. The pie chart shows how our employees thought their productivity had changed.
Two main reasons why our employees thought they had become more productive while working from home were –
- Better work life balance – more family time.
- No commute. Saves time and energy.
Research conducted by RescueTime also concurs with our observations.
“The data shows us that people who work from home are more productive” – RescueTime
Better Quality of life
As mentioned earlier, our employees experienced better work life balance while working from home. Those who had ageing parents or families that needed their attention could move to their home-towns. This move had 2 benefits
- Being closer to their parents and family.
- Being away from the urban epicenters of the pandemic.
Also as per the survey done by RescueTime , most of the employees felt satisfied that they were able to complete their work well within 8 hours.
As per a news article in “Livemint” – “Faced with projected fall in revenues and a complete hiring freeze, several IT services companies in India are working on re-skilling initiatives for employees to reduce time spent by employees, waiting for the next client project”
“According to estimates, the online education market in India was valued at ₹39 billion in 2018 and is expected to reach ₹360.3 billion by 2024. “
Last few months have seen unprecedented growth in online training programs, webinars, workshops, online consulting or counselling sessions etc. Many prudent engineers are using this as an opportunity to reset their careers. Recent upsurge has given rise to economies of scale which has made these opportunities extremely affordable.
This observation is further reinforced by the actual demand reported by Udemy.
A comprehensive look at online learning and teaching around the world and the findings reveal significantly increased demand globally across every segment:
- 425% increase in enrolments for consumers
- 55% increase in course creation by instructors
- 80% increase in usage from businesses and governments
Cross company mentorship chains
Online training programs are complimented by e-mentoring which has also seen an upsurge.
There are thousands of mentors and many more mentees on various e-mentoring platforms. The following article lists 20 such platforms.
Here’s what Lis Merrick of CoachMentoring of UK had to say in her article titled transition mentoring to enable your employees to thrive in a pandemic.
“the greatest gift an employer can give at this time is a mentor to support through these incredulous changes in our lives caused by the Covid-19 virus.” -Lis Merrick
The new normal also has had its disadvantages for some. When old models get disrupted it does affect those who aren’t ready for it.
As per a news article “Benched IT Employees In Cognizant, Hexaware Forced To Resign; Capgemini Cancelling Earned Leaves”
Given the level of uncertainty in the corporate jobs, professionals would tend to work as freelancers or gig-workers.
Geeks are becoming gigworkers
Gigs or teams working on interesting projects could potentially evolve from groups of like minded geeks being co-mentored or being co-tutored in an online program. These new relationships could cut across geographical or company boundaries.
As per a recent article published in The Economic Times
“25-30% of workforce in sectors such as internet business companies, IT, ITES, startups, hospitality, quick-service restaurants (QSR), retail and logistics will get converted to freelance roles over a period of time “
U.B. Rao (COO) at Infosys in an interview says
“Infosys, which employs freelancers, or “gig workers”, expects the so-called “gig economy” coders to constitute 35% of the industry’s workforce in future.”
One of the biggest pain points felt by the the IT managers is the long 60 to 90 day notice period that a candidate is required to serve. Hiring readily available freelancers could bring some relief.
Soon some companies would realise the futility of retaining resigned employees who aren’t in the company – both physically and mentally. Signs of this change are already appearing as seen in this article.
“ICICI Bank has issued a notice to a few of its employees reducing their notice period from 90 days to 30 days”
The day of jobs as we know them in the IT industry are coming to an end.
Companies have started reducing employees on the bench (meaning professionals waiting for projects). Now , they would outsource projects based specific and sometimes specialised work to gig workers. Progressive among the companies would build a force of gig-workers and mentor them by pairing them with senior professionals within the company, thus preparing them for upcoming projects.
Seth Godin has extolled the virtues of working on a project versus doing a job in this article
“Doing a job makes us defensive, it limits our thinking.”
“Working on a project opens the door to possibility.”
As per my experience , candidates prefer being hired for specific project work. However companies don’t always keep their word to the dismay of some candidates who discover that they aren’t assigned to the same or any project.
The loosely termed appointment letters are due to be replaced by contracts that specify the exact project for which the employee or the freelancer is being hired.
These contracts will be formalisation of the understanding that already exists between gig workers. They will be quite different from the fixed bid contracts between freelancers and their employers who don’t have any prior trust relationship. (e.g. the contracts on e-lance or get-a-coder)
No comfort zone
Neither command and control nor “micromanagement” but the peer pressure exerted by their fellow gig workers would stop them from getting in their comfort zone. By definition gigs are small teams which would make it impossible for its team members to hide non performance.
Geography is history
Specialists are accessible
Some specialised “niche” skills are never needed in large numbers. These skills aren’t obviously available in all geographies. Now its become possible to remotely tap these key skills by involving them as gig workers.
No office needed
Virtual teams can be formed without a physical office address. This means that such gigs are going to form quickly increasing the need to match project requirements with individual skills like speed dating.
There is an unmet need for a software platform that
- Quickly matches project requirements and technical skills and justifies the recommendation and ranking based on an unbiased metric for suitability.
- Such a platform would equally easily match “project work“ with a “gig worker” as well as a “job” with a “candidate”
- This platform must give an excellent candidate experience to impress remotely located candidates who are unaware of the company’s brand. Features such as providing instant feedback with career advice the rejected candidates and ability to engage the star performers are essential.
- Trust relationship with recruiting agencies in remote locations should be quickly formed by transparently sharing the actual status of the referred candidates.
- The platform should have the ability to do a preliminary technical assessment of niche skills which are new to the company.
- Allows the company to measure the performance of remote recruiters and recruitment agencies.
Those of you who want to see a tool that satisfies the above criteria can request a demo here
Time tracking and project management tools helps the remote teams to stay focused and on top of their work.