Job aspirants are increasingly only looking at indefinite work-from-home options and opportunities that offer flexible schedules, as the third wave of covid-19 sweeps the country.This is emerging as the most important factor for many recruits when it comes to choosing a new organization, said human resource (HR) consultants and managers.“Work from home, which was a perk in the pre-covid era is becoming a deal maker or deal breaker now. Many employees are asking companies to include the permanent work from home clause in their contracts. Else they are not accepting offers,” said an HR consultant working with domestic as well as multinational company clients.Many companies are obliging, looking at the attrition rate at their organizations, he said. Companies, especially large IT giants and startups, are offering double bonuses, expensive gifts, and hikes of 30-40% to prevent poaching by rivals.“We understand that the pandemic has resulted in a ‘cave syndrome’ among people, but looking at the attrition rates, our management is going soft on the demands people are making in terms of choice and freedom to work from anywhere. We have also left the option of working from office open to whoever wants to avail of it, provided they are fully vaccinated,” said an HR executive at a technology company on the condition of anonymity.India Inc. is seeing its highest attrition in five years, which could continue, according to headhunters. Firms are facing 15% higher attrition than in 2019. IT firms made headlines with their record attrition rate of up to 21% last quarter, against around 12% in the first quarter. Education, logistics, manufacturing, insurance, and hospitality sectors are also seeing employee exits. The tech sector may see resignations touch 1 million by 2021 end, according to Randstad India.Last year, many companies, especially in the IT sector, decided they would call employees back to work from this month. But, Omicron cases made them defer their plans till April.“We were to report to work from 3 January but our company has now postponed it to April. They will take a call on the work-from-home policy after April when the situation would be better, hopefully,” said Chytra, who works with a technology firm in Bengaluru. Chytra’s company has, however, allowed physical attendance for employees who do not wish to work from home.Two of three people want mandatory work-from-home to avoid mass covid-19 spread, according to a survey by LocalCircles, a Community Social Media platform.