Work from home: An enduring legacy of the Covid-19 pandemic

pandemic of the magnitude being experienced today was scarcely foreseen by
laymen or experts. However, that the Covid-19 virus did cause a pandemic and
continues to affect daily life is now a reality. The pandemic has led to
hundreds of thousands of deaths across all continents save Antarctica, led to
losses of jobs and livelihoods, strained healthcare systems and economies,
affected the way we eat, play and interact, and brought wave upon wave of
lockdowns; and this is just a fraction of the misery that the virus has heaped.

the same time, there are certain enduring legacies of the virus that are bound
to remain even after a vaccine has been discovered or the pandemic is declared
ended due to other factors such as a mutation in the virus or large-scale
immunity against it. Two of the most likely of these legacies are the trend of
wearing face
in public and the work from home culture. Among these, the trend of
wearing facemasks is likely to endure since facemask protect not only against
Covid-19 but also against other air-borne microbes and allergy causing
substances like hay and dust. Furthermore, their ability to filter out
particulate matter also assumes significance due to the astronomically high
levels of pollution.

the work from home culture is likely to endure since employers now have
confidence that it is possible for their staff to work remotely without any
negative impact on productivity. In fact, given the home
office spending
undertaken by a large population of the
workforce, not to mention the contribution of several employers towards this
spending, continuation of the culture is the most pragmatic path in the
long-run. Further strengthening this contention is the numerous benefits
working from home or other remote locations brings to both employees and
employers. Needless to say, such benefits and contentions apply only to those
professions where hands-on work and physical presence of an employee is not

among the benefits of working remotely is that employers can make big savings
on real estate through compact office spaces, reduced tariffs for electricity
and other utilities, reduced logistical and office infrastructure expenses,
etc. Besides this, given that most places if employment are based in congested
urban areas and metropolitans, employees spend a large portion of their time on
travel. In several large cities in both developing as well as developed
countries, some employees spend as much as four hours a day on travel to and
from their workplace alone. This has negative effects on their energy levels
and mental health, which in turn reduces their productivity.

Sample Copy with Table of Contents

concept of work from home has historically not appealed to employers since they
fear that employees will cease to be productive if they are not monitored.
During the pandemic, two developments have been observed in this regard. One is
where businesses have adopted monitoring systems that allow them to ensure that
their employees are doing assigned tasks, and the other, and perhaps smarter
approach, is one where employee productivity is gauged through targets and
deliveries rather than work hours. Of these, the latter has the added advantage
of gaining employee confidence, which can help businesses retain
high-performers in the long run. Given the various advantages of remote
working, it would indeed be a surprise if the work from home culture failed to
endure beyond the pandemic.

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