An increasing number of organisations now want employees to work more out of office than home. Towards this end, perks attached to work from home are being withdrawn, one by one, slowly but surely.
JPMorgan Chase & Co has called on its senior leaders to set an example for others by working from office five days a week. Goldman Sachs has been hammering down the message that it wants its workforce to show up at office all working days. Fynd resumed the five-day office week early this year.
Rahul Jain, CFO and CHRO, NTT DATA Payment Services India, says exceptions are also made in hybrid mandates. “During the recent rains in Mumbai, we allowed employees to work from home which is over and above the number of days earmarked for work from home,” says Mr. Jain.
After the pandemic, the fin-tech company slowly scaled up the number of days it wanted its employees at the physical office. It was one day in a week at the outset. Now, it is four days in the physical office every week.
“Initially, we had to force employees to come to the office, and insisting that our IT staff do so was a huge challenge. There was attrition due to this,” says Mr. Jain.
The dust seems to have settled now. The feedback system shows the workforce has settled back into the physical office format. The talent acquisition team takes great pains to impress upon prospective employees the company’s work arrangement.
“In the initial months, in the first round of the interview, we even told prospective joinees that all employees have to work five days a week from the office. Later, we would extend to them the option of working from home one day in a week,” says Mr. Jain.
Are employees, especially in the IT and ITeS sectors, prepared for this change after working remotely for more than two years?
SunTec Business Solution, a 30-year-old company with offices in Bengaluru, Kochi, Chennai, and Thiruvananthapuram, presents data that suggests its transition to office programme has been a success. It asks its employees to report at the office three to four days a week depending on the location.
As per a communication from the company, 68% of the workforce reported to office in the first week of June 2023 when it mandated that its workforce get back to the physical office. Now, the company claims full attendance.
A real time feedback mechanism to address concerns; consistent communication and empathy are what they believe got the employees to help implement the mandate.
G. Vijaya Raghavan, member of the board, SunTec Group, says they do not call their work model hybrid. They would rather use the epithet “flexible” to define it. For instance, an employee gets to work from anywhere four days in a month. “One can take those four days on the trot, which helps many professionals plan other things,” he says. “Empowerment at various levels in the organisation, and not just work by HR, is how we were able to bring employees to work-from-office without seeing any attrition,” says Mr. Raghavan.
However, a few professionals that The Hindu spoke to say strict in-office dates and hours may not actually provide them with the flexibility they are supposedly given.