Microsoft co-founder and billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates has said that work from home culture will remain prevalent even after the COVID-19 pandemic ends. Gates said that the WFH has worked well for some people and hoped that it would continue post-pandemic too.
"But once this pandemic ends, we will rethink on what percentage of time we spend in offices... 20, 30, 50 per cent. Lots of companies will expect their employees to spend well below 50 per cent of their time in offices and maybe the rest of the companies will go the normal way," Gates said during an online business summit held by The Economic Times.
Talking about his own experience, Gates said he it's an eye-opening year for him as he got time to do "much more". The billionaire said he has not travelled throughout the year amid COVID-19 pandemic-led restrictions across the world.
Gates, however, believes the work from a home culture has to improve further in terms of technology to sustain longer.
Bill Gates said the work from home also comes with its fair share of challenges. When kids are at home, and homes are congested, it becomes difficult to work productively. He said women handle a lot of things while working from home, which shows the WFH culture also comes with some drawbacks, he opines.
How does the future look and when will the pandemic end? Gates believes the world needs to learn lessons from the COVID-19 pandemic. "The message from me and others resulted in very little... Even the US, from which you would expect to have the best response with the great scientific research, did a very poor job in getting ready with this and now we are faced with incredible damage."
He hoped the world would learn a lesson from COVID-19 and be prepared to deal with the future pandemic. "...in the meantime, we have so much work to be done," he said.
Gates said that China failed to put out data on the COVID-19 virus out initially, which led to waste of time.
He said India did some "incredible things" in terms of using digital infrastructure to transfer money to poor people.
On the effectiveness of the COVID-19 pandemic infused lockdowns in India, Gates said the country, because of its huge population and wide geography, was always going to face much bigger problems compared to Europe and the US.
"We hope as we get into fall, things don't get worse, although the cold temperature is not good for containing the virus. Right now some great things are happening, the Premjis, Piramals, the Tatas etc are stepping up efforts to minimise the damage," he said.
With PTI inputs