Long commute spurs work from home

Long commute spurs work from home

Marissa Mayer has done away with work from home for all of Yahoo!, leaving a whole number of companies unsettled and unsure of what they need to do. Despite this mood shift, there are players who believe work from home makes sense. Like IBM, which has the most definite and clearly defined work from home programme or Infosys, which permits different forms of the concept.

In India, traffic and commute to office from home is one among several factors that make the work from home concept necessary. If your residence is anywhere in Bangalore South and you have to reach Electronics city for work, the time taken for that commute is so much that an interaction with the tech manager in the same time would perhaps prove crucial in securing contracts from clients in the US.

Rajesh G, former Infosys staffer for almost 20 years, lives in Jayanagar. He had to log in by 8.10 am every day, which meant he had to get an early bus. The biggest hurdle he faced was the commute to Silk Board. “Every single day, there would be a jam at Silk Board with hundreds of vehicles standing in queue to cross the Silk Board junction and get on to Hosur Road. The commute from Jayanagar to the Board itself would take 35 minutes and a stop of nearly 12 minutes at the junction cripples you.

After you cross that signal, there are several more to cross. The problem then comes up at Electronics City signal, where you wait another 12 minutes. Vehicles have to move towards Hosur Road and have to take a diversion. All this takes time,” says Rajesh.

The commute during construction of the elevated flyover was worse, says Rajesh. “The drive from Jayanagar to Electronic city took me two to two and half hours in the morning. You can imagine the high tension to reach office well within login time.

That was the time when I secured permission to work from home. I would login and logout at a specific time and would take calls from clients in the morning as well as at night. After doing some work at home, and post-calls, the tension to reach office reduces and even if I come in later, my manager would understand. We were trying to save time lost in commute by making use of the same for interactions on a project.”

Work from home is a good, flexible option, says Anthony J, who has worked with HP. “We ensure that we are not going overboard with flexi-time. The time has to be defined and clearly outlined - how much time was spent and extent of work undertaken in that time. As long as this works consistently, good results come out of it.

I live close to Lingarajapuram. Imagine having to commute everyday and then working on calls. If you are too tired, you would feel the need to rest. Instead, if we undertake video conferencing, it is almost like being at office,” says Anthony.

The advantage with working from home is that you can spend a few minutes if your parents require something or if there is an emergency call, Anthony points out. “You can also attend to your young children in case there is a need. But you have to tell your manager that some time may be utilised for purposes other than office work. If you’re honest, the system will work fine.”

The biggest worry is transport. Anthony has to take two buses from Lingarajapuram to Electronics City every day. The commute time is the biggest worry for all those working in Electronics City. Car-pooling hasn’t worked out as envisaged and there are no easy trunk routes to get to office. Travel by auto is the most difficult and costlier than car drives. The cost can vary from Rs 200-350 depending on whether one is in the IT belt or outside it.

There were plans to develop a transport network from Hebbal to Sarjapur and Electronics city to cut commute time. Car driving may be relatively lower in cost, but there is no space for parking at Electronics city, which sees almost around 1000 cars every day. Given all these constraints, it is difficult to envisage work without video conferencing and work from home concept.

Despite all this, efforts are on to get people to take common buses which run from specific locations - like designated buses that can handle the western sector from where the number of employees coming to the Electronics city is high. The same way, buses can operate from the other three regions. This is one of the several ways to cut commute time and help employees reach office comfortably.

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