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Careem allows 90% of its workforce to work from home.

KARACHI: As the pandemic-led lockdown lifted, the ride-hailing service Careem has announced a permanent Remote First working model allowing about 90% of its workforce to work from home, ARY News reported on Thursday.

Company CEO and Co-Founder Mudassir Sheikha told ARY News that while the move will eventually catalyze reduction in real estate costs and other expenses incurred by the company, the real inspiration is to build on what it learned during the forced lockdown.

“It’s the future of work and we’d be happy to lead the way,” Mudassir Sheikha said and added that with its new Remote-First model, about 90% of its workforce shall work remotely and only a 10% will establish a symbolic presence in their offices including the essential staff.

According to organizational surveys, the company said, it found its employees meeting performance targets and that their collective productivity hiked to a point that convinced Careem to expedite towards its prospective “Super App”.

READ: Uber buys rival Careem in $3.1 billion deal

It is, however, principally linked with the fact that the company, which says it has 1.7 million drivers in 13 countries, has already claimed it has been “encouraged by a better than expected pickup in demand as coronavirus restrictions ease”.

“We are seeing a strong recovery in the rides business and we are seeing a pretty significant acceleration in the deliveries business,” said Sheikha who indicated that his company is looking forward to new hirings shortly.

On the Work From Home (WFH) model, now implemented by the company, He said that employees self-reported jump in their efficiency and productivity via “our monthly surveys during the lockdown period”.

“They were more creative, more efficient and the communication across all our offices was even better,” Sheikha said of the past six months when they had to enforce WFH in the midst of COVID-19 outbreak.

“Our offices will be there and we’ll restructure them so the employees that still want to go to the office can go there,” suggesting that the company will reduce its real estate but will not outright erase the physical footprint.

The Uber-owned multipurpose app is also pitted against other players to exploit the potential in Pakistani markets other than ride-for-hire and has already claimed that it has embarked on the recovery phase from the pandemic-ridden plunge.

The WFH model, Careem believed, will help it grow better and it allows it to hire talent from across the world to aid its workforce.

However, it remains to be seen whether this model is set to create better job opportunities for Pakistanis or the vacancies, now mostly virtual, will accommodate foreigners replacing the locals.

Careem, which mainly operates in the Middle East, had originally forecast that its ride service would recover at the end of 2021, but now expects it to rebound earlier in the year with some markets already close to pre-COVID levels, reported earlier.

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