Half of India organisations bats for full office return

MUMBAI: More organisations are pushing employees to attend office — at 46% —as compared to those offering hybrid (32%) or workfrom-home (16%) options.
Among these, manufacturing companies are entirely mandating a return to office, followed by BFSI (banking, financial services & insurance) firms at 68% and retail at 57%. Meanwhile, a significant share of IT (53%) and BPO (45%) firms operate in the hybrid way, while 24% of BPOs and 18% of IT firms are offering a WFH mandate, according to a study conducted exclusively for TOI by recruitment firm Randstad India Considering that this study was concluded in the second week of September, it is likely that more IT employees would also have moved to a hybrid work mode recently. Even as most organisations have reiterated they have imbibed several learnings from the last two years of working, the study reveals that companies that offer employees the choice to pick a working style option stands at a meagre 6%.
There are disagreements between employers and employees. The report shows that remote work preferences are high among the BPO/IT/tech employees, especially women BPO workers (86%) compared to the male staff (71%). Only 32% BPO women employees said they “will continue working, even if WFH is not an option anymore”.
Among IT and BPO employees, 41% prefer fully remote work. Only 51% said they are open to hybrid and just 3% said they don’t want to work from home.
Randstad India MD & CEO Viswanath P S said organisations that do not embrace flexibility in workplaces, are likely to fall behind. “The nature of the new-gen workforce has compelled organisations across sectors to be employee-centric at their core. That has gradually become a key aspect of building and sustaining a successful business,” said Viswanath. Looking at the demographic split, the young, many of whom may have not stepped into an office or are experienced co-workers, are the ones who prefer remote or flexible work. The study showed 56% employees up to the age of 23 years said they may or may not continue working if WFH is not an option and another 8% were sure of changing their jobs. About 82% of employees up to the age 23 years and 50% in the 24-30 age group said they prefer flexible timing.
Natwest Group head (HR international hubs) Maneesh Menda said, “We would want to keep providing the flexibility and leverage through a hybrid model. This flexibility has been well received by our colleagues and we believe will help us in retaining our talent and also support them and their wellness ”
While employers are keen to get employees back to the office, there is reluctance even for hybrid work. One in every three employers spoke about this reluctance and the primary reasons include employees now being used to the remote work model. The inclination for remote work is strongest in Mumbai (85%) and Bengaluru (76%) and least in Kolkata (65%), said Randstad.
The proportion of employees currently working from office on any given day is only 15-16% in BPO and IT sectors. Wednesday is now the new Monday. “Imagine out of 2,200 seats, 200 get filled on a Wednesday. And that’s the peak. Mondays and Fridays are like hardly 50 people in the office,” said the CHRO of an internet services company. However, while the nudge for returnto-office continues, it is admittedly a soft push as employers are making room to mitigate risk of attrition.

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