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Business News/ Companies / News/  India Inc woos digital nomads back to office
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India Inc woos digital nomads back to office

Firms offering added benefits such as higher variable pay, extra leave days

The importance of working as a team at the workplace is increasingly being felt by companies across the world. mintPremium
The importance of working as a team at the workplace is increasingly being felt by companies across the world. mint

MUMBAI : India Inc. is rolling out a host of measures, including additional benefits, higher variable pay and employee engagement budgets, to woo employees back to office. Companies are also withdrawing blanket internet reimbursement policies to send a message to employees that it was time to mark their attendance physically.

In fact, companies are willing to let go of candidates who prefer remote working, even at the interview stage.

“During Covid, many firms had reduced salaries as the employees shifted to hometowns or moved to smaller towns and cities. Now, some organizations are incentivising employees to be back in office. It could be in the form of a variable pay component or non-monetary rewards, such as a few days’ break every quarter, increased leave, or both, to bring them back to base locations where clients or company offices are," said Vishalli Dongrie, partner and head, people and change advisory, KPMG in India.

The importance of working as a team at the workplace is increasingly being felt by companies across the world, and Indian firms are no exception. According to reports, Apple has asked its employees to attend office thrice a week. The Guardian reported Apple chief executive Tim Cook has sent a memo to all its employees asking them to come to office every Tuesday, Thursday and a third day that will vary from team to team.

“When we recruit candidates, we are making it clear that it is back to office across divisions. We had initially faced some hesitations from those in the IT and tech teams but with constant communication and engagement we managed to overcome that hurdle," Adarsh Mishra, chief human relations officer at consumer electronics firm Panasonic Life Solutions India, said. Exceptions for work-from-home will be made on merit, and Panasonic will take a call on it separately.

Consulting major KPMG India tweaked its policies to get more employees back to office. Now that people are vaccinated, the 14-day leave policy (for covid or as a caregiver) has also been reduced to seven days. However, in both cases, the employee can club additional benefits with existing medical leaves and benefits. KPMG has also made a change in its reimbursement policy. Earlier when work from home was the norm, there was a blanket amount for internet reimbursement, but now, it will be disbursed on a case-to-case basis.

“We are nudging employees to come back to office locations gradually," said Sunit Sinha, partner and head, people, performance and culture, KPMG in India. “The key driving principle is flexibility while a lot more in-person learning and engagement activities have started happening. We have enhanced employee engagement budgets by almost 50% compared to last year to encourage more in-person activities including learning events and townhalls," Sinha said.

For now, it has mandated a two-days-a-week in office policy, but is seeing more people return. “At the peak of the pandemic and during lockdowns almost 60% of our workforce was away from the office cities. Now, over time, it is down to 20-30% varying across different practice areas," Sinha added.

While essential services and pharma professionals were required to attend offices even during covid, other sectors are now reluctant to let employees pick their working locations. The employees will not have an option, as the hiring frenzy after two years of the pandemic is ebbing.

 

 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Devina Sengupta
Devina Sengupta reports on the shifts in India Inc’s workplaces, HR policies and writes about the developments at India’s biggest conglomerates. Her stories over the last decade have been picked up and followed by Indian and international news outlets. She joined Mint in 2022 and previously worked with The Economic Times and DNA-Money.
Catch all the Corporate news and Updates on Live Mint. Check all the latest action on Budget 2024 here. Download The Mint News App to get Daily Market Updates & Live Business News.
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Published: 26 Aug 2022, 01:01 AM IST
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