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You may not get freedom to work from anywhere

The hybrid workplace model is here to stay, but for employees at most corporates, it is likely to come with a caveat: you need to be back in the location you were hired for. According to findings from a Deloitte survey, shared exclusively with ET, only 12% companies are planning to give the choice to employees to work from any city on a permanent basis.

Except for the IT/ITeS sector, where one out of four companies plan to give employees the option to work from any city permanently, most other industries are not keen on allowing location flexibility (remote working), the survey covering 450-plus organisations revealed.

Companies across sectors told ET that promoting collaboration among teams is one of the main reasons why they want employees to return to base locations. Issues such as hardware infra, data privacy, better productivity and employee bonding are among the others.

Last week, in a communication sent out by its global HR head Milind Lakkad, Tata Consultancy Services asked its workforce to return to their base branches by November 15.

Harshil Mathur, chief executive at fintech unicorn Razorpay, said while they would be recruiting some new hires purely for remote work roles, current employees would be working out of the locations they were hired for.

Indian employees prefer hybrid model and increased emotional safety: YourDOST study

Indian employees prefer a hybrid model with increased emotional safety according to a study conducted by YourDOST, an online counselling and emotional wellness services platform.

The study called “How Indian employees feel about returning to office post Covid-19 and the outcomes” also points out that employees are willing to come to office as a result of getting bored of working from home and lack of socialising.

“Although the major portion are still unsure about starting to travel to office and have fear of contraction, a visible percentage is looking forward to joining the office,” according to the study which was conducted across freshers, inpiduals, entrepreneurs, managers and leaders.

50% of the respondents belonging to the leadership and founders segments, prefer working back from office while 66% of working professionals want flexible-work from office policy.

About 70% working professionals aged between 30 and 35 still prefer working from home and almost half of the working professionals are bored of working from home.

Working Professionals have also started feeling about the change in the HR provisions that is required to maintain equilibrium amongst the workforce. Only 62% respondents think that they have an empathetic work culture. Less than half (45%) of respondents feel open to talk to their managers regarding their mental health and as low as 39% have a provision to take a mental health day off at their workplaces.

Although 11% of the respondents are not confident about their workplace following safety norms, 19% are willing to return now if required.

Indian workforce cautiously yet eagerly waiting to return to work

The ongoing pandemic has changed the way of work forever with companies altering their models and redefining work cultures by experimenting with work from home as well as work near home.

Corporates across India continue to navigate the new normal by embracing digitization, and using a mix of remote work and work from home for uninterrupted functioning.

According to a survey done by The Office Pass(TOP), one of the largest home-grown Neighbourhood Coworking space providers, before Covid, 66% of all employees preferred going to office regularly. Preference for regular office was more among senior people (40-50 years) with 80% wanting regular full time office. This preference dropped to 60% and 69% in the age group of 30-40 years and < 30 years respectively.

There were about 34% employees, even before Covid, who were not going to office regularly. As per the survey, regular office work was more popular in larger organisations (71%) compared to small companied (56%) who were more flexible towards employee requirements, it mentioned.

“As business continuity plans increase, companies are setting up multiple satellite offices at various locations to de-densify the headquarters and to enable their workforce to work near home. We are aggressively expanding our Neighbourhood Coworking model to offer office space within walking distance as offices plan to open,” said Nikhil Madan, Co-founder of The Office Pass (TOP).

A year into the pandemic many new work formats have evolved and they are at various stages of experimentation. As per survey findings, Indian workforce seems be cautiously yet eagerly waiting to return to work. Coming to office 3-4 times a week seems to be the most popular format for both employees and companies. 54% of employees and 41% of companies prefer this format in the post Covid times. The second most popular format is to tie-up with the Coworking office that allows employees to work from near their home. This is a preferred by 29% companies. Permanent work from home (18%) and permanent return to full time office (12%) are the least preferred options.

Additionally, distance of the office from home, also came up as a key factor for employees. Interestingly, 75% of employees prefer an office within 5 kms from their home with another 21% who prefer less than 10 kms. Post pandemic, very few prefer an office >10 kms. This is on expected lines as people are afraid to travel in shared cabs or public transport like metro and busses.

The outbreak of the pandemic had a big impact on core aspects of work life: team building, collaboration, social networking and road mapping with colleagues have been highlighted as key factors for productivity enhancement. According to the survey, 27% of the employees prefer a “professional work environment” with another 25% mention “superior work-life balance” as most important factors that enhances productivity. “Networking and socialising” ranked third with 22% employees highlighting this as essential for productivity.

The second wave has brought several challenges and the hybrid work model is expected to dominate the world of work, for now. With the slow but sure reopening of offices, organisations will have to respond to these emerging demands, opportunities and challenges posed by the new normal with agility, to successfully sustain during these times.

“Companies and employees are gradually adjusting to this new normal. The survey deconstructs the employee perspective and shares critical insights that would help employers in devising effective working strategies. As a flex workspace provider TOP is partnering with companies to offer solutions to meet the requirements of both employees and their organization,”said Aditya Verma, CEO and Founder The Office Pass (TOP).

The survey was conducted over a period of 2 weeks across the metros in India, and analysed inputs from 250 mid to large size companies. The survey saw participation from 70.2% male & 29.8% females, across IT sales and marketing, Human Resource, Administration, Finance, Legal and Customer Service.