“Work from home” is a phrase that has always been in our lives but it hit unprecedented levels of popularity in 2020. With the start of the spread of the COVID pandemic in March, thousands of employees across India begin working from home and everyone thought it would be a short-term thing and things will go back to normal soon. But it is almost the end of July and “WFH” has become the new normal. IT companies have been directed by the government now to extend work from home until December. The apex court in Switzerland ruled that the employees’ house rent should also be contributed by the company.
There are a lot of start-ups that are planning a permanent WFH set up for their employees. With the pandemic showing no signs of stopping anytime soon, WFH may well be the only hopes of saving our economy. Research conducted revealed that people working from home were working on sofas, dining tables, and beds which are not suitable for long working hours on laptops. The demand for office furniture has been on a rise since the lock-down and after the deliveries were opened there was a jump in sales of office furniture. The employees are thus demanding a work-from-home allowance from their companies.
Responding to the demands, companies are offering allowances to their employees to help them buy things necessary for a WFH setup, such as furniture and Internet connection. The employees are also demanding food allowance, a fixed amount per day so that the employees can order food as working from home adds the responsibility of the home, especially for those who live by themselves and have to prepare their meals which would otherwise be made available at the office cafeteria. The companies are even planning to offer allowances for increased Internet and electricity bills. While OYO, Zomato are few companies planning on permanent work from home, Google has already set aside $1000 (75,000 Rs for India) for each employee as WFH allowance as it has declared working from home until the end of this year. Companies have been sending office furniture and laptops to help out their employees and also ensuring proper Internet connections for them.
Companies believe that a comfortable work environment at home is the primary need and it should be ensured for better work results. Everyone might not have a good Internet connection at home or a comfortable work desk, so it is the responsibility of the company to make sure the employees are provided with every possible equipment they need to get better results. They are thus being provided with a “No-questions-asked” allowance to set up a home office to make the lives of the employees much easier and provide them better work conditions.
The fantasy gaming company, Dream11 has even planned on delivering goodies to their employees to cheer them up while they work from home. Bengaluru based, Razorpay has partnered with Rentlite, to help provide office furniture to their employees on corporate discounts and are encouraging their employees to work digitally. Start-up company Spring Works shipped Office furniture, electronic accessories like keyboard, monitor, to employees who are in Bengaluru, and a one-time Rs. 10,000 per person reimbursement.