Remote work choices are high among employees employed in the BPO/IT/tech sector, especially women BPO workers. Among IT and BPO employees, 41 percent favor fully remote work and only 51 percent said they are open to hybrid and just 3 percent said they don’t want to work from home.
Work from office vs WFH vs hybrid mode
Not only IT majors like Infosys, and TCS have started recalling their employees back to the office, but several other organizations are in the favour of returning back to the pre-Covid normal. As Covid cases continue to decline, more companies are pushing employees to attend office.
Around 46 percent of firms are going for full office returns as against only 16 percent of companies that are offering work-from-home options. Another 32 percent are falling in the mid at 32 percent offering hybrid options.
Dividing sector-wise, manufacturing companies are the ones that are fully in favor of demanding a return to the office, followed by BFSI (banking, financial services & insurance) firms at 68 percent and retail at 57 percent, reported Times Now News.
While 53 percent of IT and 45 percent of BPO companies are working in a hybrid mode, 24 percent of BPOs and 18 percent of IT firms are offering a WFH mandate, according to a study executed by recruitment firm Randstad India. It ended in the second week of September.
Only 6 percent of companies are offering employees the choice to pick a working style option.
Further, the study also pointed out differences between what employers and employees want. Remote work preferences are high among BPO/IT/tech employees, especially women BPO workers. Among IT and BPO employees, 41 percent prefer fully remote work and only 51 percent said they are open to hybrid and just 3 percent said they don’t want to work from home.
Among BPO employees, 86 percent of female workers want to work from home while 71 percent of male workers agreed to remote work. Only 32 percent of BPO women employees said they “will continue working, even if WFH is not an option anymore”.
Firms that do not have flexibility in workplaces are likely to fall behind. “The nature of the new-gen workforce has made organizations across sectors to be employee-centric at their core,” said Randstad India MD & CEO Viswanath P S, adding that has gradually become a key aspect of building and sustaining a successful business.
“Organisations are focusing on offering a flexible workplace culture to employees, not only in terms of hybrid-, remote-working and flexible work hours but also in terms of enabling career growth through learning opportunities, re-skilling, up-skilling, experimentation with new job roles, etc. They have come to realize the importance of employees as their strongest asset,” Viswanath added.
Most Youngsters prefer WFH
The survey also emphasized that the ones most prone towards remote or flexible work are the young, many of whom are the ones that may have not stepped into an office or are experienced co-workers. 56 percent of employees up to the age of 23 years may or may not continue working if WFH is not an option and another 8 percent were sure of changing their jobs.
About 82 percent of employees up to the age of 23 years and 50 percent in the 24-30 age group, on the other hand, said they prefer flexible timing.
“Work from home is a crucial part of our new ways of working. Depending on the nature of the role, we’ve given associates the flexibility to continue working from home and also work from the office whenever required by the function. Every organization is taking a position on this that suits them,” said Natwest Group head (HR – international hubs) Maneesh Menda.
“We are aware that a few organizations are expecting people to work in the office every day as was the practice pre-pandemic and even mandated five days working from the office in certain jobs. But 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,” Menda added.
What employers think
“Even as they continue to push for a return to the office, employers are not very keen on executing hybrid work. One in every three employers spoke about this unwillingness and the primary reasons include employees now being used to the remote work model. The preference for remote work is strongest in Mumbai (85 percent) and Bengaluru (76 percent) and least in Kolkata (65 percent),” said Randstad.
Currently, office occupancy is the highest on Wednesday while Monday and Fridays are said to be the least occupied, many times falling into single-digit percentages. “We see the highest footfalls on Wednesdays. 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.
Even though there exist differences in the preferred working modes between employees and employers, employees with the right skill sets, today, have the power to negotiate, opined Viswanath. “They will happily reject offers that do not meet their demands and join organizations where they feel comfortable working,” he added.