After graduating college in 2020, Akanksha was excited about starting her career in Information Technology (IT). But, like millions of people across the globe, the COVID-19 pandemic hindered her from joining the workforce, and when she did, she began working from home. For about two years, IT companies shut their offices for employees.
It is no secret that the concept of an ideal workplace and what it means to work in an office environment has undergone drastic changes over the last two years. The work from home model has become ubiquitous for the modern workforce, with a large number of IT employees in India still working remotely. But with the widespread acceptance of the hybrid model – balancing working from home and going to the office – after tumultuous lockdowns, IT companies are luring employees back to a physical workplace.
Most companies have given employees the option which allows them to work out of office for a few days a week. “The number of employees back in the workplace vary from company to company, but the broad level estimation at the moment is 25% to 30%, although it is in a hybrid format,” Sangeeta Gupta, Senior Vice President of the National Association of Software and Services Companies (NASSCOM) told TNM. Several companies in India plan to or have adopted the hybrid model. As per a report by NASSCOM published last month, over 80% of IT companies are likely to adopt this method over the coming months, to assuage the demand of 70% of employees.
For example, Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) was among the first IT companies in India to announce a hybrid work model in April 2020 — the 25/25 plan. As per this, only 25% of its employees would need to come to office, and additionally, would only need to spend 25% of their time there. As many as 20% of the company’s six lakh employees now work out of office, CEO Rajesh Gopinathan recently said. TCS plans to increase this number to at least 80% by putting in a structured hybrid plan by 2025.
More companies are making efforts to elevate the experience of working from the office for employees, in order to bring them back. “Companies are putting in a lot more effort into redefining the importance of the workplace. From employee engagement activities to furthering social interactions, and collaborative meetings, there is a lot of effort going on in that avenue. Why would you come to an office and work from your desk when you could do the same from home and what do you do differently when you are in the office? I think that is a question of focus for the industry,” Sangeeta Gupta said.
Also read: The ups and downs of working from home
To tackle this, companies are concentrating on increasing employee satisfaction, and as a result there is a visible shift in what a post-pandemic IT workspace looks like. “We are facilitating more cross interaction with other teams, in-person training programs for the employee as well as setting up recreational activities like Friday evening food events etc., to increase morale on a wider scale,” Sangeeta Gupta said. Companies are even discussing group activities such as community work or volunteering with social organisations to build team work, she added.
Speaking about whether there is a discrepancy between the number of women and men coming back to the office, Gupta said, “It’s not that women are more reluctant to come back to work, on the contrary, from what I have noticed, they have been very keen to come back to work.”