Mumbai: Urban working professionals across 10 cities in India--Delhi NCR, Mumbai, Chennai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Jaipur, Ahmedabad, Pune and Surat--would like to continue working from home post the COVID-19 lockdown, a survey has found.

As many as 69% respondents said they would like working from home if that would mean lesser commute and cleaner air, among other reasons such as more flexibility and family time, found the online survey of 1,082 urban professionals conducted by New Delhi-based communications initiative Climate Trends in partnership with YouGov, a UK-based data analytics company.

The survey was an attempt to understand how people were feeling under the COVID-19 lockdown since March 25, 2020. Of the respondents, 60% were male and 59% were between the ages of 25 and 34. The respondents were spread uniformly across the 10 cities.

Key takeaways:

  • Nearly 64% said working from home during the lockdown had allowed them to spend more time with family.
  • Overall, 69% said they were willing to continue working from home post the lockdown. When asked how long they would like to work from home, 43% said between half a month and the entire month; 37% said 11 to 15 days per month
  • Although the survey had not asked specifically about air pollution, 67% said they were enjoying cleaner air due to less traffic and pollution.
  • Respondents said the lack of proper infrastructure at home, no set routine and reduction in team bonding were major challenges of working from home permanently.
  • A majority (65%) said they expected the government to put in regulations in place to compel industries to go pollution-free, and 64% said they wanted the ecological balance around their cities restored.
  • Nine of 10 employers said their company had saved on operational costs since employees began to work from home; 89% said they were willing to encourage work-from-home options if proper work infrastructure is in place, productivity is maintained and there is evidence of health benefits due to overall reduction in air pollution. Another 85% agreed this mode of working saved substantial man-hours by eliminating the commute time.

“It is important to not overstate the findings,” said Navroz Dubash, professor, Centre for Policy Research (CPR), said during a webinar on May 26, 2020, while pointing out that the respondents were young and urban. “It is fair to say that there is an appetite among a certain number of professionals to deepen the gains from this lockdown.” Dubash added that it would be important to build on the environmental gains without the devastating economic loss of this lockdown.

(Shetty is an IndiaSpend reporting fellow.)