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The JOURNEY OF AN IDEA – Work-From-Home | Tarun Gautam 

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We all know that innovative ideas have the potential to transform lives and solve problems. But do all ideas get accepted? Or do they have an uncertain journey? What makes us accept certain ideas and reject others? Is just having an idea good enough?

Here's an idea that I came up and how was it's journey.

As a regular resident of Delhi, I’ve witnessed the city’s growth both in terms of population and infrastructure. On one hand, now there are better roads, malls, flyovers etc. but on the other hand the growing population has pushed the city to be the highest ranked in terms of vehicles in India and one of the worst polluted cities in the world. So you can imagine in 2015 what my morning commute to office by a self-driven car from the Southern part of the city to a suburb 30 kms away would have been like.

I had become the human equivalent of google maps (back then google maps was still picking up), trying to find out the fasted route to my destination. I had to leave dot on time since every minute that was I late had an exponential impact on my arrival time. In this process I’d learnt that there were 29 red lights to cross before I reached office. To save time I ate my rolled-up parathas (North Indian staple breakfast) in my car; exchanged my sedan with my father’s hatch-back. In one word, the journey was horrendous. 

It was on one of these trips that I had an eureka moment, when I questioned the very need to go to office. Shouldn’t Work-From-Home be the norm rather than the exception. I was not willing to let this idea die it’s own death so I set about putting more thought to it.

After brainstorming I concluded that for work-for-home to make an impact it has to be implemented at the city level. So I set about making a presentation for Chief Minister Mr. Arvind Kejriwal and the Director General for Science and Environment Ms. Sunita Narayan. My proposal to the Delhi Government was that Corporates should be encouraged to implement work-from-home. For examples, Corporates could be incentivized to implement WFH by considering it a part of CSR(Corporate Social Responsibility) as it is bringing down the Carbon footprint. 

My calculation was that even if 10% of Delhi’s 10 lakh registered corporate follow work-from-home in some shape or form it could bring down vehicular pollution and city congestion. With technology solutions available that could prevent disruption to work, the idea prima facie seemed to have potential.

So in Dec 2015 and May 2016 I sent the presentation to the Chief Minister and Ms. Narayan respectively. I was not expecting a reply so was pleasantly surprised when I received one from the CM’s office, the Delhi Dialogue Commission on 9th Dec 2015 and also from Ms. Narayan. But sadly that was the last I heard from them.

Today we are in 2021, when for a very unfortunate reason, a pandemic, Work-From-Home has become the norm and I’m wondering how a seemly implausible idea five years back today has been implemented so easily just because it’s been forced upon us. It has made me think deeply about hundreds of such ideas come that come to individuals but die their death either because the ideator didn’t pursue it further or the powers that be didn’t believe in it.

Today when I see WFH from being successfully implemented though for the reasons that I had wanted to implemented, it has proven the validity of the idea. But it has also made me ponder on what were the reasons behind the rejection of the idea.

Did I make enough efforts to take the idea to the right people. Were the people who saw the idea not convinced of the idea or of it's implementation. The answer may not be binary but a combination of the above.

There are learning from this. Problems have solutions and they are out there. We have a choice to open our minds to them at the right time or wait for adversity to make us embrace them.

Ideas bring Change and Change is the only constant. Embrace it.

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