By Raj Mahadev, MD, Jobs for Youth Pvt Ltd
In the last 3 months, we have seen all our lives change dramatically. We will get back to opening up but till the time a vaccine is found, we will all have to take utmost precautions. And in the process, probably change our lives forever. I am taking the liberty to imagine our lives in 2022.
The concept of WFH has had a huge impact in our lives. Imagine if the reports of companies like TCS, Wipro, other large corporates start looking at WFH seriously and state 33-50% of their employees will WFH. Can you imagine the impact it will have on employees and citizens?
Many employees will WFH and might miss the human interaction at work, the walks, chats, catching up over coffee, and working in teams, meetings, etc. But see what they will get on the other hand, no commute (and for employees in metros that’s like salvaging 500 days from their working years).
Work-life balance, which we all talk about and find it difficult to achieve. Many employees will probably move out from a mega/large city to a more scenic, quieter city, or who would not like to go back to work in their hometown if it is a Mangalore, Mysore, Dehradun, Coimbatore, Chandigarh. We may end up helping the govt in re-distributing the population, more urban cities, (China has 375 and we have around 50+). We might just see some reverse migration.
There are no big offices no more. IBM recently announced that they are reducing office space by half. Companies will start to think differently. Why rent-buy huge commercial establishments to house employees when they can achieve similar productivity from employees at home? Real estate can see a huge impact. Will that make them relook at their business mix, pricing? Reports say that there is 750 million sq. feet of commercial space as of end last year, which could get reimagined into residential apartments. Or we could see more hospitals which is a serious gap in the country, redeployment of slums to vertical safe places, or creative citizen zones that each city needs.
We could also see more Job opportunities across the country. We will see companies hiring and deploying resources in their city of residence rather than get employees to move to their physical office locations. Employees can work from any city, we see job opportunities opening up in cities with good academic institutions/good living conditions, as employees can work in the same city they studied/live in. Smaller cities provide for lower cost of living so employees will have better savings potential leading to higher savings rates and consumption. This, in turn, will spread cheer across the country.
Companies will invest in employee well-being. They will want to support the WFH employee with better perks by funding computers, internet, IT security, office furniture, child care, elderly care, etc. It’s, after all, a Home office. Will this make the tax authorities provided for some deductions not seen ever?
We have seen resistance to change. Why disrupt what is working fine. But the pandemic has given everyone a wake-up call and proven that sudden change, leading to new business delivery models, can be managed and there can be benefits in adapting to the new change both financially and productivity-wise. Corporates will do what they always wanted to but were not sure if they could pull it off.
Lives will change and sitting here today, we can only imagine how life will be in 2022.