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Is Working from Home a Boon or a Bane?

ET Cases, 7 Pages
AUTHOR(S) : Vandana Jayakumar and Dr. Nagendra V. Chowdary

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Is Working from Home a Boon or a Bane?

Subroto could not believe that it was the same Hyderabad which he had left 11 years ago when his company had sent him to Shenzhen on an international assignment in 2007. Travelling on the roads of Hyderabad on a week day during the rush hour, he was shocked to see the sea of vehicles and the snail pace at which the traffic moved as Victor, his ex-colleague and good old friend from Hyderabad maneuvered his Maruti Suzuki Baleno with seasoned craftsmanship and meandered through the traffic.

Subroto: You are a lucky chap that you don’t have to travel to and from work every day. Otherwise this must be such a criminal wastage of time and it must also be physically draining.

Victor: True, Subroto. As you know, I have been telecommuting for more than 5 years now and it is a big relief that I don’t have to deal with the harrowing traffic menace. With time, the traffic and commute time have increased.

Saving on the commute time is just one of the many advantages of working-from-home. For me, it has really come as a boon. Now I have less stress and more personal time than I could ever have when working out of an office. I am regular with the gym, I am able to run the household errands during breaks, I am able to squeeze out play time with my boy in the evenings and I also keep upgrading myself with new courses on Coursera. With no disturbance, which was the biggest problem at our modern open office, I am able to focus on my work and my productivity seems to have improved over the years…I wish Shweta (Victor’s wife) also worked from home, at least to escape this traffic.................

Discussion Questions

I. What do you understand by telecommuting.

II. What are the benefits and drawbacks of telecommuting for the companies?

III. What are the benefits and drawbacks of telecommuting for the employees?

IV. .................


Exhibit I: Why Employees Want to Work Outside the Office

Teaching Note Preview

Is Working from Home a Boon or a Bane?


The purpose of this Teaching Plan is neither to outline the answers to Case Debate’s discussion questions nor to suggest an ideal way of conducting an effective debate basis the given topic. It is more to share the authors’ perspectives, basis their classroom orchestration of this Case Debate, on possible ways of orchestrating this Case Debate.

Purpose of Case Debate

Purpose of this Case Debate, which is a prelude to the Case Method of Teaching, is to inculcate the following skills [Exhibit (TP)-I] that would amply benefit the participants during their careers..........

As this Case Debate is based on a very generic topic, the purpose is not to dwell into only the research-based inputs but more to prepare the students/participants for the process of case discussion – except that while the case discussion would be based on the case facts, the Case Debate encourages the students/participants to present their ideas with no rigorous business dilemma................



Exhibit (TP)-II: Recommendations for Deriving Maximum Benefit from Work-From-Home Arrangements

Exhibit (TP)-III: Classroom Orchestration Plan – Is Working from Home a Boon or a Bane?


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Product code: HRM-9-0079, HRM-9-0079A


Is working-from-home a fad or a new normal? Why working-from-home only for white-collar employees? What does working-from-home mean for blue-collar employees? Is working-from-home a boon or a bane for either of the parties - the employees and the employers? This Case Debate's purpose is to indulge the participants in discussing about the growing popularity of working-from-home and the pros and cons of the same. Globally, around 20% of the workers execute their work or some part for their work from home. While it is difficult to get reliable statistics about the prevalence of remote working or telecommuting in India, a survey of 7,500 Indian employees reported a high demand for telecommuting. One of the biggest reasons why people prefer working outside a traditional office is to have a work-life balance. Companies also facilitate work-from-home arrangements as it helps cut costs, attract and retain key talent and enables work-life integration for employees. The trend for telecommuting is expected to gain further momentum as millennials prefer flexible working hours and telecommuting. While work-from-home seems to be trending, why did companies such as Yahoo! and IBM stop the work-from-home facility for their employees? Is work-from-home not good for organizational well-being? Well, a report from ILO says that at least it is not good for the employees as it leads to stress and insomnia. As per a survey of 1,800 employees by JobBuzz, 70% of the surveyed employees did not use the flexible working option made available to them. What do these statistics indicate?

This Case Debate centres around (a) Evaluating the concept of telecommuting (b) What are the pros and cons of telecommuting? (c) What are the ways in which organizations and employees can beneficially execute a work-from-home arrangement? (d) Should organizations and workers embrace work-from-home arrangements?

Purpose of this Case Debate, which is a prelude to the Case Method of Teaching, is to inculcate the following skills that would amply benefit the participants during their careers:

(a) Ideation
(b) Discussion and Debate
(c) Empathy
(d) Appreciation

Case Debate Positioning and Setting

Depending on the purpose, this Case Debate can be used for either of the following:

  • MBA Programs – Human Resource Management – To debate on innovative working arrangements to attract and retain key talent and leverage competitive advantage from the same
  • Undergraduate Programs/BBA Programs – To sensitize the participants to changing trends in the workplace

This Case Pack Includes:
- Abstract
- Case Debate
- Teaching Plan (**ONLY for Academicians)

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