Around 88 per cent of workforce in India prefers to have the flexibility to work from home (WFH), and 69 per cent of Indian employees believe their efficiency has increased while working remotely, highest in the Asia Pacific region, according to a report by SAP Concur.
According to the report, many Indian firms still run manual finance and administrative processes, resulting in inefficiencies that lead to productivity losses, which is estimated to be to the tune of over Rs 16,800 crore.
"Remote work will be the default mode of work for many organisations in the foreseeable future. Embracing this change, 88 per cent of employees in India have expressed their preference to have the flexibility of remote working," the SAP Concur report said. The reported is based on a survey, conducted in May, of 300 senior management to executive level employees.
It found that 69 per cent of Indian employees believe their productivity has increased while working from home, which is higher than their other APAC counterparts with an overall average of 60 per cent.
"These figures show positive signs of large scale acceptance of the upcoming 'new normal' in the country at a time when COVID-19 pandemic has forced the companies to implement remote working almost overnight," the report said.
Indian employees spent an average of 6.1 hours per month filing expense claims, more than half of a typical workday. "Managers had it worse they spent an additional 7.3 hours reviewing and approving expense claims with the total time adding up to an astonishing 13.4 hours a month," it said.
According to the report, merely 11 per cent of Indian organisations have embraced end-to-end digital finance and administrative processes which take up significant employee time that can otherwise be used for productive work. Across India, 36 per cent of mid-large sized companies are still using manual processes for submitting business expenses.
Asia Insight, the entity which conducted the survey, used International Labour Organization (ILO) statistics on output per worker and the number of workers, and the survey's results to calculate the impact of manual process in terms of potential revenue loss.
It derived that saving just 10 per cent of the time spent on filing and approving claims would translate to US 2.25 billion (Rs 16,827 crore) of potential GDP revenue gain for India each year, assuming all the lost hours are diverted to productive work.
"2020 is proving to be a turning point for companies in terms of managing employee experience and productivity.
"While employees working remotely are being supported digitally in many areas, there still exists a major gap in digital adoption for crucial yet often overlooked finance and administrative processes," Mankiran Chowhan, Managing Director, Indian Subcontinent, SAP Concur said.
He said bringing in digital transformation for expense claims or invoice processing can have a huge multiplier effect on business and cost control, and at the same time provide the operational agility needed for business continuity. Beyond the inefficiency costs, the study also found that current expense management systems' support for modern payment methods is inadequate.
"More than a third (39 per cent) of respondents said they want their expense management software to integrate with external apps to enable added functionality like reimbursement of payments made through apps," it said.