Startups push for ‘work from anywhere’ model to boost flexibility

Bangalore: As India Inc starts sending more employees back to the office, a group of organizations is marking a different kind of milestone – adopting ‘work from anywhere’.

Flyhomes, NoBroker, Meesho, Angel One (formerly Angel Broking), ITC Infotech, MagicPin and SpringWorks are among the companies that have either completely done away or given some or most of their employees the opportunity to work from anywhere Have given.

Their working models may differ, but in the post-Covid environment and competitive jobs market, they all address the growing need of workers for greater flexibility and better work-life balance.

For example, real estate startup Flyhomes is a remote-first company that lets employees either be completely remote or work in a hybrid model.

Social commerce platform Meesho allows people to work from anywhere on a permanent basis, while NoBroker has a completely remote policy for exclusive customer call center teams.

Last month, retail platform MagicPin announced a remote-first model, in which employees can work from anywhere.

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“Employee satisfaction has been through the roof, and retention has been high,” said Karthik Mandevil, CEO of HR technology startup SpringWorks, which was one of the first companies to take the completely remote route. Everyone in the U.S. is moving/opening offices, we’re getting a flood of applications because those employees realize they don’t want to spend hours in traffic every day, and are more attracted to remote companies.”

In November last year, ITC Infotech had launched a ‘work from anywhere’ policy.

The ‘work from anywhere’ model has also opened up access to a larger talent pool.

Ashish Kumar Singh, CHRO, Meesho said, “The WFA policy opens up the pool of talent and gives us access to the best of minds, irrespective of their location.” “Currently, 95% of our total workforce is working from other locations, including other countries.”

The flexibility of ‘work from anywhere’ has also become a compelling factor for some employees to persist.

Gaganpreet Luthra, managing director, Flyhomes India, said, “The husband of one of our employees had a job that required him to relocate to another city, and under normal circumstances he had to leave his job. Not anymore.”

HR consultants said that such companies will benefit in the battle of talent. “They are likely to emerge as lucrative employment destinations and will have an edge over those that offer no or limited flexibility,” said Arvind Usarete, Commercial Leader – India & South Asia, Mercer Consulting (India).

But challenges remain.

“It’s not going to be all rosy. One of the biggest benefits of working from an office is having a cohesive, vibrant, connected culture. We need to look at how our HR and leaders take advantage of the learnings of the pandemic and that’s it.” Make sure we keep our culture fully cohesive among remote employees,” said Amit Agarwal, cofounder of NoBroker.

Working remotely requires an updated communication and collaboration playbook and each of these companies is working on it. Employees also meet occasionally.

For example, Meesho asks its teams to come together for work every quarter.

SpringWorks said it facilitates face-to-face engagement with off-site; Planning is underway for next May.

Brij Bhushan, cofounder of MagicPin, said that employees come together in the office in the first week of every month for better bonding. Events such as internal cricket tournaments are organized during such gatherings to help the workers bond more.

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