Indian professionals have come to embrace working from home

31 August 2020 4 min. read

EY surveyed more than 2,000 professionals in India, and found that nearly 95% are now used to working from home, with around 40% actually branding it as a positive.

This is one of many findings from EY’s study, which tested a number of hypotheses about consumer and employee sentiment. In recent months, experts have suggested that the conditions that many were forced to accept during Covid-19 might just become permanent behavioural changes for consumers.

Against this backdrop, EY had five main hypotheses: Digital adoption has skyrocketed; social interactions – be it for work or pleasure – have moved online; consumers are ever more aware of healthy living; digital content consumption has spiked; and safety and privacy have become top priorities.

Fear and uncertainty around Covid-19

Based on the feedback from respondents from various demographic and professional backgrounds, the firm found its hunch to be confirmed in most cases. Notably, an underlying sentiment that might be affecting all behavioural trends is that 70% of all respondents are still fearful and anxious about the virus, and a similar share is living in uncertainty.

Not surprisingly, digital adoption has skyrocketed, as the online space presents a safe, infection-free alternative to life as usual. A KPMG report from earlier this year indicated that the pandemic has produced a new age Indian consumer – one who is willing to adopt technology, use digital payment platforms, and pay for online services.

EY can confirm this, with the majority of respondents indicating that they have paid for online services such as fitness, education, banking, groceries and other payment mechanisms to cover bills. A similar story is visible on the professional side of things, with well over 90% indicating that they had settled into virtual working conditions.

Benefits of working from homeThis has been an adjustment, as many continue to believe that face-to-face working is more productive. At the same time, well over a third of EY’s respondents indicated that virtual working is actually just as productive as an office setting, and comes with a number of other cherries on top.

Professionals in India are more than happy with the absence of long and traffic-ridden commutes, while many also pointed out that being at home has given them a healthier lifestyle. More family time, healthy meals, more time to pursue hobbies and the absence of unnecessary travel are all points in favour of virtual working.

Facilitating the transition to virtual working is the rapid advancement of digital collaboration tools such as Zoom, Skype, and Microsoft Teams, among a host of others that have come to the forefront in recent months. EY’s report reveals that these tools have not only changed the mode of work, but have changed social interaction models as a whole.

Digital communications changing social interaction

No doubt, many interactions with family and friends have moved online. That being said, more than a third feel that the shift to digital has had a much deeper impact. People have reignited long-lost friendships, while the relatively comfortable virtual setting has actually led some to feel more connected with friends and family than ever before.

Businesses are realising that their employees are happier and more productive working from home, and many are considering a long term shift to virtual working arrangements. 

Against the backdrop of the deep impact on consumer sentiment, EY advises brands to understand the new consumer priorities in order to stay relevant, given that many behavioural changes might well persist in the medium to long term.