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Work from home or office - Start-ups stand divided, investors profess new normal

Start-ups seem to be a divided house on the issue with some of them advocating complete work from home, while several others are predicting a hybrid model in future

Nirbhay Kumar | September 14, 2020 | Updated 23:26 IST
Work from home or office - Start-ups stand divided, investors profess new normal

KEY HIGHLIGHTS

  • Some investors want start-ups to continue with work-from-home (WFH) model to save on costs
  • Indian Angel Network Fund maintains that work-from-home can be continued within the new normal as the practice saves a lot of resources
  • Start-ups seem to be a divided house; some of them advocate complete work from home, while several others predict a hybrid model in future
  • Many start-ups said their investors have not insisted upon following work-from-home model compulsorily

Realising substantial cost savings from work from home, many investors want start-ups to continue the practice even as pandemic situation eases.

People aware of the development said that many start-ups earlier provided food, conveyance and other benefits to employees to ensure longer work hours stretching to late night but work from home has resulted in a lot of savings.

"A lot of cash burn was happening as a result of this. Now investors have fair idea of how much saving can be achieved from work from home," said an executive wishing not to be named.

Work from home also cuts down office space cost, crucial for survival in pandemic situation.

Padmaja Ruparel, Founding Partner, Indian Angel Network Fund, said that as investors it was their responsibility to help the start-ups sustain during these challenging times.

"Work from home (WFH) was the need of the hour during that time. But, over this period, all of us have realized that WFH can be continued within the new normal, as the practice saves a lot of resources," Ruparel said.

"Although as investors, we only make suggestions, and the founders take the final call," she added.

Start-ups, however, seem to be a divided house on the issue with some of them advocating complete work from home, while several others are predicting a hybrid model in future.

Prateek Shukla, Co-founder and CEO of Masai School argued that work from home has allowed the team flexibility to work as per their convenience and has reduced the time spent in traveling.

"However, instead of the investors taking that call, it is usually the entrepreneur's decision - if they are able to make working from home really productive and get results, I don't see any reason to go back to the office environment," Shukla said.

Akash Gehani, Co-Founder and COO, Instamojo, feels future work model will be a mix of on-site and home. He said that while remote work saves money it also provides employees with flexibility and living wherever is most comfortable for them.

Gehani noted that a 100 per cent remote model will not work.

"There are aspects to collaboration and innovation needing in-person discussions, and this hasn't been fulfilled in a remote work scenario yet. While it's applicable for most companies, many start-ups depend on a lot of quick decision making, very agile movements. These require in-person time," said Gehani.

Most start-ups BusinessToday.In reached for comments said that they had not been advised by their investors to mandatorily choose work-from-home model.

"Our investors have not insisted on continuing WFH and this is a normal operational decision which we take as a management team," said Saahil Goel, CEO and Co-founder of logistics start-up Shiprocket.

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