In search of solutions…

As I was saying in my previous post, I am ending up traveling 2 hours each way to office daily. During one such soujourn back home where the roads seemed to be stretching on and on, me and my colleague were discussing the possible steps that we could take to overcome this daily commute issue. Suddenly one of us had this idea and I thought a lot about it later too. I even discussed it with the hubby and it was he who gave the idea of putting it up here.

Well, the idea we had was nothing ingenious – it’s a pretty commonplace one. The question I have is – why hasn’t it been implemented yet? We were basically discussing that the IT companies should build living quarters for their employees at a distance which is within the 5 km radius from their workplaces. Now, as all of us are aware, this is a pretty common thing with the Government and Public sector units. Any big government organization or a PSU have living quarters built and allotted to their employees. The companies which come to mind are the IIMs, IISc, HMT, BEL, HAL, ISRO, DRDO, NAL etc. The size, quality and comfort of the quarters allotted of course depends on the hierarchy levels and is decided based on the seniority of the employees. Now, why can’t IT companies take a leaf out of their books and implement a similar idea? Here are some points why I think this needs to be done:

  • This will help scores of employees (like me, me, me!!) who have to travel from far-off places everyday to work – staying close-by helps in better time management, productivity improvements and better work-life balance with more quality time to be spent with family
  • This will help reduce the traffic on the roads to a big extent I believe – with the office cabs having to ply only between the quarters and offices as opposed to going all over the city and also the scores of people who ride/ drive to work might not need to do so, atleast not for long distances
  • This will help companies in retaining their employee base – after all what do we want in life? – a workplace offering good opportunities and challenges, a good working environment and a good team to work with – all these apart from a decent salary of course. But the most challenging aspect of working these days has become the daily commute which eats into a major chunk of our everyday lives. We spend hours on the road – neither working nor spending time with family. So if somebody offered me the option of staying within a vicinity of 5-10 kms from work in decent company provided accomodation, I wouldn’t mind taking it even with a few concessions on the other fronts like salary and facilities!
  • The real estate prices in Bangalore have gone spiralling upwards ever since it became the IT-hub. Scores of apartments have sprung up in all corners of the city – thanks to the crowds from other parts of India who typically find the apartment-living therapy more convenient rather than staying in independent houses. What this has resulted in is flats being built and given out on rent – even on small gullies with hardly space for more than one 4-wheeler to move in. I sometimes wonder at the quotes of rent I hear from my colleagues who live close to the ITPL/ Whitefield hub – it has become a means for good money-making – if you have a place to stay in this area give it out for rent and find yourself another rented place elsewhere at a lower cost! We can try to curb this trend if companies can offer living accomodation to its employees.
  • Lastly, living in quarters builds a beautiful sense of community living. It’s a lovely experience with kids of all the families coming together to play, learn and grow up together – irrespective of caste, creed and status. Some of my earliest memories are times spent growing up in the living quarters of the institution that my dad worked in. I remember the fun times we had as kids – running around bare feet on sunny afternoons chasing butterflies, playing kunte-bille and kalla-police and generally running around in gay abandon, sliding down concrete stair slopes and scraping our knees, visiting each others’ houses on festival days and revelling in all the fun! And all this within the safe confines of community living where our parents didn’t have to worry about their kids running out into the roads… I believe this adds hugely to our personalities and defines the kind of people we turn out to be.

The hubby was of the opinion that this model won’t work out – he said look at the condition of all those govt. quarters which were built years ago – the maintenance costs will run into lakhs of rupees. I say – you are looking at companies which mostly run on government funds – the reliability of which, we all know and can imagine. But here I am talking about private companies and that too not the small fry, but the big giants who declare their profits every quarter with pride and who’s revenues run into billions. As for maintenance, take that money from our salaries, I sure won’t mind paying a few thousands from my pocket yearly for the maintenance of the house I live in, provided it is properly accounted for and managed efficiently. It would be equivalent to the maintenance charges collected as part of rent by the house owners even otherwise!

Well, what do you think? Is it really a non-do-able prospect? I’d sure like to hear what others think…

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