Indian Companies Prepare for Returning to Office

October 29, 2021

As issues related to the COVID-19 pandemic in India have begun to subside and regulations have been lifted, Indian companies have started working actively to help their employees return to the workplace.  With 84% of Indian employees ready to return to office, HR Policy in India has provided some thoughts for businesses to consider.

Hybrid work model is preferred by employees:  Recent surveys indicate that like in the U.S., the majority of employees in India are willing to return to the office but prefer a hybrid work environment.  "The return to office is being straddled with the need to balance employee safety, identifying jobs needing collaboration and office infrastructure and finding ways to address burnout," said Mansee Singhal, rewards consulting leader at Mercer India.

The importance of a hybrid working environment is also a key consideration in acquiring and retaining female talent.  Companies that fail to provide flexible working options are finding it difficult to retain female employees, as 77% of women left work in India due to a lack of flexibility at work, according to a survey by Avtar Group.

HR tech to help with back-to-office transition:  HR technology is playing a key role in back-to-office transitions to prioritize the health and safety of employees.  For instance, shift scheduling software is being used to maintain social distancing by having employees go into the office on different days.  HR leaders in India are also using technology to collect data such as contact tracing and test results to monitor employee health and allow employees to inform the company when they want to return to office.

Migrant workforce unlikely to return to office:  According to Adecco and Quess Corp, it has been challenging for migrant employees from small cities to return to the office as they are unable to find short-term living options in the cities where they worked pre-pandemic.  Many large businesses have extended their operations to Tier 2 and 3 cities due to growing local talent and lower operational costs.

Workplace burnout and mental health:  A recent LinkedIn survey found that 55% of the country's employed professionals were feeling stressed.  Indian employers are now pushing for mental well-being initiatives for employees, as they feel that the pandemic blurred the lines between work and personal life which has led to increased stress levels.  "Organizations are rethinking their entire work models, culture and values, while employees are thinking about not just how they work, but why they work.  At this time, we encourage companies to explore stronger flexible offerings and more mental health time off, as professionals seek greater balance and more fulfillment in their lives," said Ashutosh Gupta, India Country Manager, LinkedIn.