The latest study by NASSCOM predicts 50% of the workforce in the country resume going to offices in a hybrid setup by the next three months
Most enterprises in India are exploring a right-fit hybrid work strategy for their employees instead of shifting their operations back to pre-pandemic levels rapidly.
According to a NASSCOM and Indeed Return to Workplace Survey, about 70% of organizations are exploring hybrid operating models. Amongst these, IT services and global capability centers (GCCs) are likely to be early adopters of a long-term hybrid model.
"Tech organizations in India are moving towards a hybrid work model – a new future operating model that combines the best of both on-site and remote working models. While there is no one size fits all approach, the report provides a framework for organizations to identify the right hybrid model as per their specific business requirement and workforce dynamics," states Debjani Ghosh, President, NASSCOM in the report.
About 60% of organizations will likely reach readiness to re-open office spaces by Jan '22, in a hybrid format where 50% of the workforce will resume work for up to 3 days a week. 62% of employees would prefer returning to the workplace within three months, according to the survey.
Employees up to the age of 25 require less time to return to the workplace than older staff.
Amidst the pandemic, many IT and non-IT companies transformed their working models rapidly and invested significantly in computer hardware, cloud-based technologies, and solutions to enable their teams to experiment and perfect the full-remote work model. Despite increased productivity and greater flexibility, many companies were eager to call their employees back to physical offices to reduce the long-term cycle of fatigue and risks related to cybersecurity.
Why are employees interested in a hybrid setup?
Better Infrastructure and hardware, alignment with organizational culture, social connect and bonding with peers, and lesser distractions compared to work from home (WFH) are the top four reasons for employee preference to return to the workplace.
Nevertheless, since they have also seen the advantages of WFH and the clouds of uncertainty still loom over the improved COVID scenario, the organizational workforce may not be mentally ready to resume work in full force. According to the NASSCOM survey findings, employees believe that safety from COVID-19, higher productivity, flexible work timings, and better communication with supervisors were the four top reasons they enjoyed remote working. Higher employee satisfaction during remote work was reported by 66% of survey respondents.
Young talent also faces a significant challenge in getting accustomed to the office environment and receiving live quality training in the initial years of their career. And for them resuming work from offices is highly critical for learning new things. "Better Infrastructure and hardware, Alignment with organizational culture, Social connect and bonding with peers, and lesser distractions as compared to WFH are the top four reasons for employee preference to return to the workplace," the report states.
These are still early estimates and depend upon various factors such as health and safety readiness inside office premises, employee vaccination status, stakeholder preferences, data security, and a stable COVID-19 outlook before the long-term success of hybrid work set up can be predicted accurately.
58% of organizations were confident of their IT infrastructure readiness to re-open office premises immediately; 46% of organizations were optimistic of their physical infrastructure readiness to re-open office premises immediately, and 36% of organizations were confident of their business process readiness to re-open office premises immediately.
Interestingly, 15% of employees are likely to consider a change in employer in case of return to the workplace.