Sugato Palit

Executive Director-HR & Admin, Experion Developers

Flexi Jobs in India: Emerging Trends

Based on an interview by Rajiv Tewari, Founder Media4Media of Sugato Palit, Executive Director-HR & Admin, Experion Developers. Sugato is an alumnus of XLRI,Jamshedpur and has worked in Global &Regional HR leadership assignments in various organizations like Alliance Tires, Perfetti van Melle, Seagram (PernodRicard), SAB Miller and Marico. Sugato has been recognized with several awards and accolades, including 'Best Global HR Practices Award' in 2008, 'India's Best HR Leadership' Award' in 2010, and HR Leadership Award in 2015 at the World HRD Congress.

Modern technology is changing the way we work in several ways. One of the most powerful impact is seen in the way flexi work policies are being adapted across the globe including India. Several research studies have proved beyond doubt that the flexi work policies contribute significantly to attracting and retaining talent. The added advantages are in the form of better work life balance for the employees and cost savings for the employers as well as the employees. The employers save a lot of money which would otherwise would have been wasted in costly office spaces. The employees save a lot of time and money which otherwise would be wasted while commuting on the congested roads of most of the cities, specially in countries like India. Employees feel more motivated when they get flexible timing options to be able to attend toseveral responsibilities like leaving kids to the school, taking care of the elderly and helping the other partner in managing day to day home related work.

We decided to interact with Sugato Palit on the emerging trends in the flexi time job policies in India. Sugato hasworked in creatingseveral scalable and sustainable business processes from an HR perspective at a Global level. He is widely acknowledged and respected for his contribution to strategic HR areas that includeOrganizational Re– Structuring, Transformation, Change Management, Group Integration, Mergers, Acquisitions, Capability Building and long term Business Strategy Partnering. Here are the excerpts of the interaction we had with Sugato on the latest trend in flexi jobs in India

Flexi timing jobs are getting to be increasingly relevant, especially in businesses that cut across the globe. There are different time-zones of working and the employees are expected to be flexible. With the advancement of technology, virtual presence, in many instances, is enough to carry out work from a remote location, for significant periods of time. Hence more companies are opting for the flexi-time option.

Progressive companies are showing a great degree of sensitivity through work-from-home, flexi-hours, and cab facilities.Should the nature of the business permit it, it’s definitely a great idea to allow employees to commute during off-peak hours, which gives them more time for a better work life balance which they would have otherwise spent on the road. This gives them a higher motivation level, better work-life balance and also less energy is wasted on non-productive activities.

In most cases, work which are back-end operations with little to no customer interface, are basically technology driven and requires fewer one on one meetings are good start points.Conceptually, flexi-timing is based on the principle of providing a set of output at the end of a given period, irrespective of where the work is done, and during what hours.This presupposes that technology, nature of the role and the business requirement permit that to happen.The idea is to give employees the space to work at one’s convenience and focus on one’s priorities in an effective manner.Of course, a certain time is kept common for all employees to interact and meet and work and ideate together.This is no different from working from your workstations and meeting in the meeting rooms when required. Except that, in this specific case, the workstation can be anywhere – including your home.

Research has shown increased productivity, due to higher motivation levels.Employees are usually more engaged and happier, as they feel they have a greater control over their lives. Their sense of responsibility and ownership goes up too. Happy employees provide higher levels of output and stay longer. It’s not just about money any more but a better work life balance.

"I would suggest to my HR colleagues that it is important to evaluate your own organization's context, tech support and work-flow practices before jumping on to the flexi-time bandwagon.It is very important to realize that this is a huge cultural element, and the attitude of its employees makes the difference between success and failure of this scheme.Therefore, along with creating systems which allow people to work flexi-time, it is very important to communicate, train and review the flexi-time process, to ensure that the objectives are being met" said Sugato Palit in his concluding remarks.



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