- Nearly 50% of respondents say working from home has made them more productive
- Attribute higher productivity to a balanced routine
Nearly half of those who have no choice but to work from home have said they feel more productive than before and almost 90 percent remain indifferent to the arrangement as their productivity levels remain more or less the same.
According to a survey carried out by Sparkwinn Research, a consumer and market research firm in Colombo, via online and interviews conducted through telephones, the research house showed for 48 percent who were surveyed, working from home has been very productive and for another 41 percent it was average.
Only 11 percent have responded saying the arrangement is not productive at all.
Interestingly, it has also been revealed that those who find the arrangement unproductive are the ones who spend significant amount of time on screen, the television, mobile or the laptop.
The surveyors have categorized the respondents into three key segments—people working from home and have deliverables to complete; people working from home but there aren’t any deliverables to complete and; people not working at all because their functions cannot be performed from home.
The first segment has 54 percent of the surveyed, the second 26 percent and the third 20 percent.
However, the limitation of the survey lies in its narrower sample, which has the contributions from only 200 respondents and has focused only a narrower geographical segment, the Colombo urbanites.
While the results may be used as a representation of a cross section of the largely service-oriented economy in the metropolis, this cannot be remotely applied in the regions where manufacturing and agriculture play the dominant role.
Meanwhile, the respondents have attributed their higher productivity to a balanced routine, which enables them with reading books, catching up with friends and relatives, household chores, family time and gardening.
However, in a typical working day, a lot of these or almost all of these are a near impossibilities with good amount of time having to be spent on the road.
Sri Lanka is currently in its third consecutive week of work from home.
Speaking on the progress of the work from home arrangement in the private sector, Shiran Fernando, Chief Economist at the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce said the response so far had been positive.
“It has been quite positive. If you look at lot of the service types who are able to work through their laptops are able to directly replicate (workplace) at home. And lots of companies are now using lot of online tools that are available and so many of them have meetings via them.
Even our monthly committee meetings were held online very successfully and are adapting. And I think that’s the need of the hour,” he stressed.
The CEOs or chief Human Resource Managers in companies are now contemplating if they could allow remote working for their staff even after the country overcomes the current pandemic.
While some of the social distancing may be needed even after the immediate danger disappears, the workplaces may have to be a little innovative in designing rosters where a section of employees report to work during two to three days a week while allowing them to work from home the rest of the days of the week.
While these arrangements will also help employers to cut down their overheads in numerous ways, this will help nationally to bring down traffic congestion and pollution caused by rapid urbanisation and influx of hundreds of thousands of vehicles into the city making it clogged up and polluted.
While the survey results pointed to a strong case for the ability and its wide scale productivity and cost benefits for certain roles and segments, Sri Lanka is still not that close from making it a default way of working.
“I think it is showing the possibilities in terms of how it can have an impact on the ground. A lot of the start-up companies already practice this and their employees don’t really need to physically come to work.
But I think it’s too early to say whether it can be adopted wide scale. I think if the processes are put in place which makes employers and the employees comfortable in that environment, we can definitely move towards it, particularly given that we are largely a service-driven economy,” Fernando added.