IT employees explore flexible options as firms resume work from office

Most of the employees of leading IT services companies in the country are looking out for more flexible job opportunities even as companies have started asking workers to return to office, a new survey shows.

About 88% of employees in top IT companies are ready to quit their current jobs, according to the survey by staffing services firm CIEL HR Services.

Out of them, around 46% – mostly working mothers and caregivers – are looking for work from home (WFH) opportunities as their current employers want them to return to offices, while another 46% are willing to leave for better paying jobs.

The rest about 8% want to quit because they see their employer’s demand of return to work as restrictive, preventing them from pursuing other hobbies and passions with more time spent on commuting, etc.

“Return to offices curtails their independence and affects their lifestyle,” Aditya Misra, chief executive of CIEL, told ET.

CIEL’s study on talent mobility in the IT sector was conducted in early October, covering 1,000 respondents from 19 leading IT companies.

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Recruitment services experts, however, said resignation threats in response to back-to-office calls by employers may not work well for employees in this current job market amid a slight slowdown in hiring.

Officials at staffing firms Adecco and Xpheno said they expect employees to mostly toe the line as companies call them back to offices.

“Threats of this nature might have had teeth a few months back in the candidate controlled job market,” said Anil Ethanur, cofounder at Xpheno. But now, with fewer jobs chasing talent and more employers returning to hybrid or work from office (WFO), candidates have fewer choices for fulltime WFH, he said.

“If anything, threats to quit in response to WFO can at best be a paper tiger in the current scenario,” Ethanur said.

IT companies are facing multiple challenges in a remote working setup, experts said.

“On one hand, they are facing a slowdown in new orders and even in the pace of existing projects. On the other hand, they are worried about moonlighting (among employees) and concerned about employee productivity,” said Misra of CIEL.

Top IT companies have started urging employees to return to office.

HCL Tech is encouraging employees to come three days a week to offices, its chief people officer Ramachandran Sundararajan said at the company’s second quarter results briefing earlier this week.

Employees at TCS are also expected to come to offices three days a week while Infosys is allowing employees to work from home with
no mandated fixed number of days in office.

Returning to office is especially difficult for scores of IT employees who had relocated to their hometowns or elsewhere away from the office location during the pandemic, experts said.

“With most companies mandating employees to come to offices for at least three days a week, there is certainly a resistance from a fraction of employees,” Adecco India director Ramesh Alluri Reddy said. “From a company perspective, they are losing out on culture in a remote working set up,” he added.

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