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Employees are moving into ergonomic home-work setups

Both individual buyers and companies are investing in creating enabling workspaces at home, as the likes of Google, Uber, Razorpay, SpringWorks, Freshworks and Salesforce have either started paying allowances for work-from-home expenses or expanded the scope of existing allowances to include WFH furniture. Some, like Tata Sky, are providing infrastructural support like office desks and swivel chairs to employees.

Last Updated: Jun 04, 2020, 09.22 AM IST
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KOLKATA | NEW DELHI: As much of India Inc continues to work out of home, employees are moving off their couches, dining table chairs and beds into more ergonomic home-work setups.

Both individual buyers and companies are investing in creating enabling workspaces at home, as the likes of Google, Uber, Razorpay, SpringWorks, Freshworks and Salesforce have either started paying allowances for work-from-home expenses or expanded the scope of existing allowances to include WFH furniture. Some, like Tata Sky, are providing infrastructural support like office desks and swivel chairs to employees.

Requests are pouring in from sectors like IT & ITeS, consulting, banking and FMCG for furniture for WFH, say companies like Godrej Interio, HermanMiller India, IKEA India, Boss’s Cabin and furniture rental company Fabrento.

Google announced last week that it would give each employee an allowance of $1,000 (Rs 75,000 for India) for equipment and office furniture while working from home. Several others have also been treading the same path.

Bengaluru-based payment solutions company Razorpay is encouraging employees to work digitally. “We have partnered with Rentlite (a division of Featherlite) for corporate offers to help our employees rent office furniture. We are also giving a remote working allowance which can be used to rent comfortable office furniture, or any other essentials,” head of people operations Anuradha Bharat said.

In May, Uber extended its Wellbeing Benefit policy to support employees working remotely. The eligible wellbeing criteria now include specific ergonomic and home workstation equipment. HR tech startup SpringWorks shipped across monitors, keyboards, accessories, and office chairs to employees within Bengaluru. A one-time Rs 10,000 per person WFH setup reimbursement was also made.

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At Salesforce, an allowance benefit of $250 dollars was given to every employee to help set up their home offices. Freshworks too has a work-from-allowance of $250 for its 3,000-plus employees globally to purchase ergonomic chairs and furniture, larger monitors, ergonomic keyboards or accessories.

Recent research conducted by Godrej Interio revealed that while at work, people were working from sofas, dining tables and beds. All of this was not designed for long hours of laptop work. Work from home furniture has been in demand ever since the lockdown, and now with delivery channels opening up, this is translating into a jump in sales.

“Since last month, we have seen many organisations enquiring about how best to support their workforce working from homes,” said Sameer Joshi, Godrej Interio’s associate vice president of marketing (B2B). The company has consulted and executed such projects for several MNCs, industrial corporations and IT/ITeS companies in the last 30 days, he said.

HermanMiller India has received requests from companies operating in various sectors. While the online store enquiries have seen a surge of 85%, offline enquiries have grown by 55%.

With WFH the new normal, customers are very interested in study desks and ergonomic chairs. “We are seeing a 2x to 3x increase in this space,” said Kavitha Krishnarao, the country commercial manager at IKEA India.

“Employees are reaching out to us directly, instead of the companies which is usually the case. Companies are providing home office allowance to their employees and letting them buy as per their individual preferences,” said Suresh Daga, a director at office furniture company Boss’s Cabin.
(Catch all the Business News, Breaking News Events and Latest News Updates on The Economic Times.)

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