Commutes - an inevitable part of our lives. Have you ever wondered how much time you spend travelling to the office? It adds up, doesn’t it?
More than half of Indian office-goers want their travel time to be considered as part of their working hours. As work practices evolve, we’re asking one question: Does the daily commute still hold its ground?
Prepare to explore both the positive and negative aspects of this compelling argument.
Traditional Commute: The Good And The Bad
The Good: Bonding And Collaboration
For years, going in to work meant making time for coffee runs, casual chats with colleagues, and impromptu brainstorming sessions. These informal interactions encouraged team bonding and nurtured a sense of belongingness. Commuting has definitely played and still continues to play a major role in bringing the team together.
“I like commuting to the office on a daily basis due to the ease of connectivity of our office by trains and I do really like spending time in the office as it lets me communicate with all the team members better than via email or phone. This also helps me reduce the time taken for tasks to be done, all this while hanging out with colleagues is a win-win for me”
- Nishant Yadav
The Bad: Time And Energy Drain
Despite its merits, the daily commute also has a downside. The wasted hours spent in traffic or public transport drain precious time and energy, leaving employees pretty tired even before the workday begins. The physical exhaustion and mental fatigue of commuting often linger throughout the day. Productivity takes a hit, and personal well-being suffers as stress levels soar.
“My role allows me to work from any location, and collaborating with the team remotely allows for greater efficiency. The daily commute consumes a considerable amount of time, and adopting a hybrid work mode ensures a balance of both in-office teamwork and the convenience of working remotely. This way, we can enjoy the benefits of both worlds, collaboration with colleagues while enjoying the flexibility of starting our workday without the stress of daily travel and traffic.”
- Sampada Rane
The Side We Often Overlook: Environmental Impact
The long lines of cars and buses contribute to air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions add to our planet's woes. Considering the current mindset of the workforce, it's evident that the new generation not only aims to change the business world but are also more cautious about their carbon footprint. These seemingly small aspects that harm the environment in significant ways hold great importance to them.
As responsible global workplaces, we must learn to question whether we can reduce this carbon footprint without compromising efficiency. Moreover, addressing this issue allows us the opportunity to align our business commitment to Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives.
Rise of Remote Work As A Game-Changer
The Pandemic's Catalyst: The outbreak of the global pandemic in recent times acted as a catalyst, bringing remote work into the mainstream. Companies all around the world had to embrace work-from-home out of necessity, and guess what? Employee productivity actually stayed steady or even improved in many cases, completely shattering traditional beliefs about remote work. So, it's no wonder that many employees now believe they can do just as well without attending the office regularly. They've experienced it firsthand!
Work-Life Balance: Remote work brought with it a silver lining - a healthier work-life balance. With no more long commutes, employees found extra time for family, hobbies, and personal growth. This newfound balance surely translated into happier, more engaged employees.
“When I'm not travelling to office, I have the option to sleep in a little extra (since I’m saving travel time), it helps me prioritise exercising before/after work, and it gives me some time to spend with my family It also helps me run errands for which I need to be home for…”
- Maalin Ashar
Global Talent Pool: If a company only operates in one region, it becomes vulnerable to the risks of that specific job market. But when you have employees scattered across the world, you can literally work around the clock and minimise downtime. Plus, it opens up doors to hire the best minds from different places, bringing in diverse perspectives and sparking innovation. It's incredible what remote work can do to break geographical barriers!
Challenges We Need To Overcome
Virtual Fatigue And Social Isolation: Remote work isn't all sunshine and rainbows. The lack of face-to-face interactions can lead to virtual fatigue and feelings of isolation. Striking the right balance between virtual and in-person engagements becomes crucial to keeping the team spirit alive.
Organisational Culture And Employer Branding: It goes without saying that the office environment plays a pivotal role in shaping an organisation's culture and employer branding. As remote work gains traction, leaders must find innovative ways to nurture the desired culture and promote a strong employer brand virtually. It’s a challenge, but an interesting one.
Security And Collaboration: When employees access sensitive data from remote locations, it becomes a top concern. fostering collaboration and creative thinking might not be as easy when you don't have the physical presence of an office environment. But hey, where there's a will, there's a way! We can find solutions and make remote collaboration work like a charm.
The Hybrid Model: Is It A Middle Ground?
“This depends on people’s working styles and what the business needs. Personally, the hybrid model has actually allowed me to plan my day, week and life better. Office days are now reserved for team huddles, 1-1s and swapping lunch dabbas. On the days that I work from home (in my pjs), I have more control over my hours, my location (desk or couch haha), and it takes away the need to commute. Hybrid is definitely the way to go”
- Rynelle Oliver
The Best of Both Worlds: Amidst these dynamic shifts, the hybrid work model emerges as a compelling solution. Embracing a blend of remote and in-office work, it combines the benefits of each approach while addressing their challenges.
Flexibility and Choice: The hybrid model empowers employees to choose the best working arrangement for them. Some tasks may require collaboration, while others flourish in a quiet home office. This flexibility promotes a culture of trust, empowering employees to take ownership of their work.
As we contemplate the future of commuting and work, one thing is evident: there’s transformation waiting for us. The traditional office commute, once an unquestioned reality, now demands to be relooked.
Ultimately all we can say is that it's time to bid adieu to a one-size-fits-all approach and welcome the dawn of a new era - an era where the answer to the question "Does travelling to office everyday still make sense?" lies in embracing a dynamic blend of in-person and remote work, a future that ensures success and fulfilment for organisations and their valued teams.
Psst! This blog was made with💚, lots of teamwork, and edited by a human with some help from generative AI. We're not ones to steal credit. #PuttingItOutThere