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Challenges of remote working for MSME businesses

Kozhikode, Kerala: When the pandemic first impacted globally, top companies worldwide were quick to adapt towards offering their employees remote working and work-from-home options. The tech giant Google was one of the first companies to adopt this model, telling their employees to work from home in mid-March. Most other large organisations were quick to adopt this.

 It is not relatively easy as it seems for smaller companies to adopt such a trend that easily because there is a need for basic requirements such as good internet connectivity and a well-functioning laptop for all employees to connect. Even if the employees have these two basic requirements, there is a need for additional requirements that a company's management needs to set up, such as a well-functioning project management software and secure the processes. All these become a burden for smaller organisations that finds it challenging to adapt to this model or do not find it feasible for their current structure or expects reduced productivity.

Very few MSME companies in India have successfully adapted this trend. We approached SRBC services, a business consulting and IT company situated at a Business Park in Calicut, Kerala. The company started its operations in September of 2020. “Even once the government restrictions were lifted, SRBC had kept ready a secure and well-established system for working. This had helped us well during the second wave of pandemic” says Rose Chalissery, the Managing Director of SRBC. When asked about how other companies operate, Kevin one of the directors, stated “we were able to establish such a system primarily because we are a new company that was started during a crisis. We are working on products that other such companies can focus on so that they can also benefit.” Many other smaller companies have adopted the work from home model. Some companies require employees to work at the office during a few days of the week. This can be seen even in Google, where they have mandated their employees to stay within commutable distance from the office and show up at the workplace at least three days a week.

 

With a prediction that jobs are under the threat of automation on one side and small employers unable to establish digital and improve the process within each company it will be exciting to see how the imbalance plays out in the long run.

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