Miriam (name changed on request), 24, is a liberal arts graduate who works remotely for a Mumbai-based NGO; she had quit her previous job in November of 2021, but believes that this was a premature decision. “That’s a learning that I apply now,” she says, explaining that while she doesn’t see herself working at her current company long-term, she’s not quitting because, more than financial security, she needs a routine. “I need that kind of structure in my life.”
For Miriam, a healthy workplace culture and opportunities for growth are non-negotiable. “Understanding the company’s vision and mission and making sure it aligns with mine is very important to me,” she says.
But in a fully remote environment, Miriam says the dynamic isn’t conducive to growth. Since she cannot interact with her colleagues in person, she finds it difficult to see what work other people are doing, and where she can contribute.
Still, young people don’t want to return to the offline-only workplace. Vinanth Gunavel (24), a content writer at a Bengaluru-based digital marketing agency, says that when working from home, he ends up clocking in 12 to 13 hours instead of nine. Going hybrid, he says, would give him the “comfort [he] needs and the exposure needed at the workplace,” allowing him to work on projects at his own pace, while remaining in touch with the office environment.
Today’s young workforce isn’t just looking for a job that pays the bills. Instead, they’re looking for structure, growth opportunities and a professional community that uplifts them in an otherwise uncertain socio-economic environment. However, in the post-pandemic economy, they find some of their priorities changing.
Arwa Zaki (30), an HR manager at Nykaa, says the dynamic, fast-paced work environment met her “basic need of getting to learn everything at a faster rate.” She adds that if there is a culture of “growth, appreciation and recognition,” she’s happy. Zaki says that this is largely fostered by the kinds of employees hired, their background and how their experiences can broaden her professional outlook.
A PR gimmick?
Some companies offer education stipends as well as motivation. If there are certain courses or seminars that employees are interested in, their companies will cover expenses, to a certain amount, a big incentive, especially for recent graduates. Zaki says her organisation also understands the need for mental health breaks. Nykaa, for instance, collaborates with psychologists to provide employees with various mental health services.
But sometimes, this recognition turns more into a PR gimmick than actual help because his company does not actually offer any resources, says Shubhojit Ghose (26), a deputy manager working in renewable energy. He had to find mental health services externally and pay for it himself.