Until recently, India lagged behind many other countries in
supporting a remote work culture. But if recent studies are any indicator, it
appears those times are changing.
More than half of Indian workers (53%) polled in a recent study
said they prefer telecommuting. The same study found that the vast
majority of workers (61%) are seeking a better work-life balance with less
stress – stress that comes in part from a long and crowded commute and time
away from family.
Another recent study by global research company IPSOS found that 57 percent of Indian employees
telecommute on a frequent
basis and nearly one-third work remotely every day.
For Indian businesses, escalating costs of space are causing them
to more readily consider those remote work arrangements. Even so, employing
remote workers is still a relatively new concept not fully embraced by
mainstream Indian society or employers. “However, the trend is slowly and
surely changing with young professionals choosing to work from home, especially
in crowded and dense cities like Mumbai,” according to the All
Things Talent blog.
Fueling that mind shift in part is competition among talent
mobility professionals to recruit the best of India’s burgeoning young
workforce. “India is one of the very few countries which has the younger
workforce with every month a million kids getting added to India’s
workforce and potentially to the world’s workforce,” said Indian Staffing
Federation president Rituparna Chakraborty.
Related: India’s Dispersed Workers Mean Large Talent Pool for Mobility Hires
India’s businesses are recognizing millennials’ desire for
flexible work arrangements, and increasingly are adopting them as a carrot to
attract the best talent. Perhaps nowhere is that more evident than in India’s red-hot co-working space growth. Co-working space in prime Indian
markets has notched a three-fold growth over 2017, with co-working firms
leasing 19 lakh sq.ft. in the first six months of 2018 versus 6.4 lakh sq.ft in
the same period last year.
In addition, India has made great strides in improving its connectivity beyond the major cities. Until
recently, remote workers could expect wide variations in connectivity quality
across the country. Per Shivani Baghel, the editor at myHQSpace:
“India is a vast, multidimensional and diverse
country. This diversity is found not only in the culture and language, but also
in terms of living standards. What you might get in a city like New Delhi or
Mumbai can be a huge contrast to what you’ll get in Dharamshala or towns of
For hard-crunching work that requires fast WiFi, the urban cores
still offer the best options with 5G and easily accessible hot spots at hotels,
coffee shops and co-working spaces.
Related: Inclusiveness & Protectionism: A Time to Pause & Rethink for India's IT Sector
But, Baghel notes, “if you plan to take a spiritual retreat in
Dharamkot or Tosh and expect to schedule a Skype call with your client later in
the evening, I’m sorry, but that will not be possible.”
That too is changing. In just the past year or so, an affordable 4G network has been extended far beyond
the cosmopolitan cities, “so that everyone, even in remote rural areas, has
access to the internet and thereby to a wealth of information.”
As the remote work culture grows in
India, so has the online community supporting it. Numerous social networks serve as a great source of information
on everything from places to live and favorite work cafes to the best ways to
get around the country. Indian bloggers like Bruised
Savi and Vid offer personal insights. And increasingly, co-working spaces and groups, like Remote Explorers, are cropping up in India to help connect remote workers and support
the remote work lifestyle.
With India’s rapidly growing economy, young and tech-savvy population,
infrastructure expansion and pool of innovative businesses, the country is indeed ripe to be one
of the world’s next great hubs for remote work.
Want to learn more about mobility's impact and India's remote working capabilities? Join us for India Global Mobility Summit 2018, complete with a full day of programming that will focus on global mobility, HR, expatriate
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