Covid brought in several new normals, the WFH concept being the most talked about. While it helped regular office-going staff avoid innumerable inconveniences like the vagaries of commute, traffic, road rage, fuel and parking costs and the stress and frustrations, it also forced corporates to take up tech upgrades to allow the staff WFH. Studies have now revealed that many employees, especially those from tech companies, have started liking the luxury and chances are that they would not want to go back to the old normal. What could be the consequences of such an eventuality?
Researchers predict a brain drain when employers insist their staff return to their office desks (though this is quite unlikely in the foreseeable future as the covid rage is not showing any signs of settling down). There is an argument that the WFH schedule is preferred, especially by technical hands, not because of the luxuries it professed to offer but because they feel that the long work hours, the chance to have their faculties engaged for more time unlike the 9-hour schedule at office are creating an environment best suitable for making use of their prowess.
So, assuming that a considerable number of employees prefer to opt for WFH and the management have no option but to allow them because they are indispensable, there could be major ramifications. Like office space rendered surplus, the tech infrastructure that was created, the new business processes that would have to be implemented et al. Again, there could be regulatory and compliance issues that have to be sorted out, besides the need for creating a flawless security set-up to go with the WFH regimen.
It is clear that WFH or work from anywhere may not be an option within the control of the staff or the management. That means industry associations or even regulators and compliance authorities should start work on framing broad guidelines before covid finally exits and we are ready to adopt the resultant new normal. And talking about banks, it will be difficult to predict what the model would be in post-covid times. For, many of the functions in the sector involves human presence at the scene of activity. At best, it will be a hybrid model that will prevail. And some aside! A large Wall Street bank is reported to have started planning for post-covid operations. It is gathering and evaluating messages exchanged by employees to ascertain who will sit with whom in the workplace when covid finally disappears.