The work-from-home corporate strategy

Mar 02 2014, 02:33 IST
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SummaryPicking up that briefcase (read: laptop bag, if you must) and your car keys, and rushing...

Picking up that briefcase (read: laptop bag, if you must) and your car keys, and rushing out with a half-eaten toast in your hand in the pretence of chairing the next economic summit in the next 10 minutes is an SOP for many Indian men. If this routine were to be taken out of their lives, the incidence of ailments like depression, colic and deep-vein thrombosis (DVT) may well be on the rise. And the only form of exercise for 80% urban-dwellers would have just vanished!

Ok, all you “office-o-holics”, prepare for this, as the increasing Rh factor (c’mon! Rh = Recession hit) of this new world has introduced the uncomfortable trend of “work-from-home” (WFH) corporate strategy. Yes, more and more MNCs have realised that this is a great way to keep overheads down and manage bottomlines. Shutting down offices, centralising management and outsourcing of support services are all part of this new Rh way of working.

Some large organisations are also finding merit in outsourcing core sales functions through channel partners and distributors, resulting in efficiencies and, believe it or not, reportedly increased productivity. Says Vipin Tuteja, executive director-technology, channels and international business, Xerox: “We have more mobile teams that are working in the field and often also collaborating across time-zones with their global counter parts. In this environment, it is imperative to think beyond conventional office paradigms. Xerox has invested in this infrastructure and has embraced the concept of virtual offices and flexible hours, as it is not only employee-friendly and cost-effective, but also gives us competitive edge, allows our people to spend more time with our customers and partners without being tied down by the boundaries of a physical office.”

Seems like this trend will stay, even if the Rh factor decreases. Why? Because the companies would have tasted the sweet rewards and this new way may be easier to create, manage and even dismantle. But there is a lot of insecurities around this causing initial morale erosion and panic about new jobs. Organisations need to manage this process to a win-win situation to avoid insecurity and instability.

Many conscientious organisations plan this transition by taking their staff along, and ensuring their re-enforced commitment to the larger goal. Here’s how these companies have achieved it:

Aligning goals: Reviewing the larger goal of the organisation and the various inputs and their implications to cost, speed and reach must be aligned

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