When I put in my papers at VCCircle back in early 2015, its Founder-Editor dialled me up and asked why I was quitting the job. As it was an expected question, I blurted out my ready-made response that my new employer e27 was more global and that I would get more international exposure.
I also added, almost derisively, that I got a better pay scale at the new organisation (In fact, I had to exaggerate the remuneration a bit to make sure that VCCircle did not force me to stay back not because I was a valuable employee, but because we were a very small team back then).
“Sainul, we are also going global,” the Founder-Editor told me, referring to the company’s imminent deal with global media giant News Corp. I chuckled at this and kept silent for a minute, as I had already made up my mind. He immediately sensed this and hanged the phone.
To be honest, I was not actively looking for a job change when the e27 offer came in through a common friend. Despite the heavy workload and pressure, I wanted to stay back at this Indian online startup publication for some more time because I was not certain if any of my prospective employer would offer me the work-from-home option. Plus, it was this Delhi headquartered company that transformed me from a mediocre reporter to a mature writer.
So when I got a call from e27, the first question I threw at the then Editor was whether the media company had an office in India and would I be asked to work from office? Fortunately, e27 did not have an office in my country, and that’s why I joined here.
When I look back, I realise that it was the right decision because of numerous reasons — the most important being that it allowed me to work from home and gave me total freedom, a crucial factor.
I have been a remote employee for the past four-and-half years (two and half years at VCCircle and two years at e27). As long as I am alive and in good health, I like to continue so for the rest of my life as well.
Here’s why I think a work-from-home policy is important from both the employee’s and employer’s point of view:
Productivity has gone up
Productivity is an important factor for every organisation. It is essentially the efficiency in which an organisation can transform resources into goods, potentially creating more from less.
When I switched my office job to work-from-home job, the transition was not that easy. I missed the office atmosphere, I missed talking to colleagues, I missed poking fun at each other, I missed various festival celebrations at the office, and I missed a whole lot of other things as well. However, I got used to the new work culture over time.
I can testify that the work-from-home option has turned my career around. It boosted my confidence. I can login anytime of the day, take a break any time I want, spend considerable time with kids and family, and even assist my wife in the kitchen. I can also play soccer, my favourite sport, with my friends in the evening.
More importantly, I can save a lot of time by not commuting to and from the office in the heavy road traffic. I can also have home-cooked food, which keeps me healthy. I also get time to read fiction. All these things have made a positive impact on my life.
At VCCircle, I used to write four-five stories on an average. Some days, the number had even gone up to eight, which included exclusives, features, profiles and press releases. Things are even better at e27 — I get enough time to experiment on content, spend time with family, work out, and sleep whenever I feel like. I reckon that it has helped me become a better person as well.
I save a lot of money
As far as I know, most employees spend a good chunk of their salary on house rental. Living costs in Bangalore have shot up over the past few years. Since most companies are located in the heart of the city, employees are forced to live within the city limits, which is bleeding them heavily.
In my case, since the nature of my work doesn’t require me to live in the city, I have taken a rented home in the outskirts. This way, I can save a lot of money.
I also save money on not having to commute daily. As you already know, Bangalore is notorious for road traffic. It takes you more than an hour to cover a distance of 10 kilometres on a normal day, if you are using public transportation. To reach the office on time evading traffic, you need to leave very early in the morning. While it is cost-effective, it consumes a lot of your time, which you could otherwise use for more productive things. Often, employees are forced to hire private cars, or buy new ones, which can add to their expense.
As for me, I go out of my home only once in a while — when I have meeting with an entrepreneur or VC investor, or if there is an event in the city. This way, I can save a lot of cash every month.
My employer saves a lot of time and money
It is a well-known fact that employers spend thousands of dollars on each employee every month. When an employer joins an organisation, they need to provide him/her a workspace, office equipment, laptop, internet connectivity, electricity, water, tea and snacks, communication channels, subscription to various services, etc. Some companies also offer free meals to their staff in order to help them save time from cooking or buying meals. All these affect the company’s top-line.
From an employer’s perspective, these companies save on most of these costs. In a city like Bangalore, setting up an office space itself is costly. Plus, the company needs to ensure uninterrupted electricity, internet and water supply, which are major challenges. Additionally, employees often spend most of their time on the road, and this affects their health, efficiency, and productivity.
Over the next 10 years, there will be a massive movement of people from the concrete buildings of metropolitan cities into the real world. Organisations across the globe have already started offering remote work options to their employees, thanks to the fast-growing infrastructure costs and clogging of cities where transportation from one point to another has become hard and time consuming.
In this scenario, companies should consider giving a work-from-home option to their employees. This way they are not only saving time and money, but also doing a favour to the environment. No one knows if the city we are currently working and living in will be inhabitable after 10 to 15 years.
More importantly, I can also go on a long vacation abroad with Remote Life without leaving my job.