72% of urban professionals want to continue working from home post lockdown, survey finds

Amalendu Upadhyaya
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Close to 80% believe that WFH could ensure clean air, 65% of the respondents call on the Government to implement a time-bound plan to ensure environmentally harmful industries go pollution-free

New Delhi, 25 May 2020: As India goes through lockdown 4.0, New Delhi-based communications initiative, Climate Trends, along with YouGov, conducted a public survey of how people are experiencing the lockdown.

The survey was conducted with a sample size of 1082 urban professional respondents from across 10 largest cities in terms of population – Delhi NCR, Mumbai, Chennai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Jaipur, Ahmedabad, Pune and Surat. The survey was collected online because of the complete lockdown.

80% of individuals believe that working from home will have an impact on air quality and 70% said they are willing to continue to work from home even after the lockdown ends. This becomes all the more relevant since 90% of the respondents said that their company saved on operational cost due to work from home.

Aarti Khosla, Director of Climate Trends said,

“the findings could provide an insight for policymakers on how to gradually open up the lockdown. The survey shows that citizens are willing to take greater responsibility in ensuring that they don’t end up crowding the streets. Government officials should pay heed to these emerging trends”.

The survey further finds that a staggering 90% believe that air pollution impacts them personally. Nearly 1 in 2 respondents indicated that they suffer from air pollution-related health problems like respiratory, cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases. This explains why individuals are willing to take steps to maintain this unintended reduction in air pollution triggered by the COVID-19 lockdown.

Interestingly, people are still willing to take public transportation if it leads to clean air and reduced traffic. Though the number of people trying to avoid public transportation is on the higher side indicating that they’d like to maintain social distancing norms.

About 62% of the respondents would prefer to walk a shorter distance than take a bus while 37% said they’d use public transportation for short distances.

Close to 49% of the respondents said they would be willing to buy an electric vehicle provided the charging infrastructure is in place across the country and the prices are made affordable. The percentage in favour of electric vehicles increases in some cities such as Jaipur (62%) and Delhi (56%) where respondents said they would buy electric vehicles if infrastructure and price conditions are met.

About 65% of the respondents believe that the Government should launch a time-bound transition program for environmentally damaging industries to go pollution-free. 57% of respondents believe that the government needs to move from coal power stations and diesel generators to solar, wind and hydropower.

Meanwhile, it is not only employees who are seeing the benefits of this new trend. 9 out of 10 employers think that their company has saved on operational costs since employees began WFH. 89% are willing to encourage WFH 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% also agree that WFH saved substantial man-hours by eliminating the commute time. But as cities reopen partially and news cycles report about traffic congestions, it needs to be observed how many businesses will complete this transition.

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