The Power Finance Corporation may be able to institutionalize work-from-home

State-run non-bank finance company Power Finance Corporation can look at institutionalizing work from home (WFH) environment for a particular segment of its workforce. The company already has IT setup and regulations for employees to be allowed to work from home as well
PK Singh, director (commercial) in charge of HR. Edited excerpts of an interview with ETs
Rica Bhattacharyya.

Several PSUs have implemented WFH at a large level for the first time after the outbreak of Covid 19? How has the experience been so far from WFH at the PFC?

To one NBFC like us, the most critical time is to close the fiscal year. Our employees have risen to the occasion and have made extraordinary contributions in the last few days of the 2019-20 financial year following Lockdown was announced. We used to work online, but we were in the office. WFH is just a step forward in the use of technology from a remote location. In the current situation, that is the need for the hour.

What challenges were faced during this transition?

Employees have access to their emails, employee databases and portals anywhere. The one thing that became inaccessible was their office systems. The PFC IT team has provided remote login for office systems to most of the employees. The other key challenge was cyber attacks, as there was a new set of malware and loose products doing rounds in the name of COVID-19. As we needed to allow more numbers of remote connectivity, the threat landscape was larger to ensure the security of all our IT assets. However, our IT team has managed the entire system well without fail.

What percentage of your workforce is currently working from home?

Currently, more than 80% of employees work from home. None of the work is postponed or postponed due to the current situation.

Do you think WFH can be allowed on a regular basis even after the situation is normalized? In the future, part of your workforce will continue to work from home… .if yes, what percentage and what type of roles or functions?

PFC always adopts best practices across the globe for its employees. We also believe that work-life balance is important to improving an employee’s efficiency. As this is a new concept for PSUs, we can look into providing WFH beyond lockdown for our staff. We can provide this opportunity for new mothers / fathers to work from home after their maternity leave is over. Further in case of an emergency in the family we can provide this opportunity. Based on what we have learned during this lockout, WFH can be the order of the day for the coming days. In addition, PSUs such as PFC can introduce flexi-work system.

This creates a new work culture and environment. As a result, we will end up with improved productivity, increased motivation and work-life balance.

Do you think WFH is an effective mechanism?

For a PSU, one must evaluate the mechanism. The model certainly helps cut down on travel time and in a city set-up that may account for almost 2 to 3 hours of your daily schedule. In addition, PFC already has the IT set-up and regulations for employees to be allowed to WFH in the future as well. After locking, the situation can be evaluated using the HR unit, and the decision can be made accordingly.

How did you implement the technical back-end to allow employees to work from home? Have you given them laptops or did you install desktops at home too?

PFC has already supplied laptops to the entire workforce. The Virtual Private Network (VPN) connections (approximately 300 connections and 100 Mac users are in the pipeline were enabled for our executives and video conferencing application (Microsoft Teams) has been provided to employees (approximately 100) for collaboration (video calling, file sharing, chat facility) purposes.

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