While Prime Minister Narendra Modi has exhorted the value of work-from-home (WFH) to increase the participation of women in the Indian workforce, most firms have resorted to calling employees back to work as the pandemic has been waning.
At the National Conference of Labour Ministers of all States and Union Territories a few days ago, Prime Minister Narendra Modi highlighted the work-from-home ecosystem, flexible work hours and flexible workspace as the future. This, he said, will encourage a higher number of women to work.
Women’s participation in the Indian labour force during January-March 2022 was 20.4 per cent, according to Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation. It has been hovering around 20 per cent.
The country’s largest IT firm and one of the largest employers in the country Tata Consultancy Services’ COO N Ganapathy Subramaniam highlighted the need for employees to return to office.
"We hired about 100,000 people last year. About 25,000 of them joined TCS remotely without even taking the ID cards or seeing a TCS office and also have chosen to leave this year for another job. When I look at that I feel sad. I'm sure that had they been in a face-to-face interaction, they would have valued TCS a lot better than working remotely because in their mind they are seeing somebody in the screen,” he had said at the Business Today's India@100 Summit last week.
TCS's CEO & MD Rajesh Gopinathan too had told another publication that their 25/25 plan needs to be executed in a more controlled manner. 20 per cent of the firm’s employees are back at work.
“Working from home is no longer a long-term viable option,” RPG Enterprises Chairman Harsh Goenka had written recently in a LinkedIn post, while Anand Mahindra-led Mahindra Group has also reportedly told employees to return to work on all days from August.
“While employees are given the freedom to work from the office or from their home, many employers are encouraging their team members to work from the office at a designated frequency to build relations and create bond with their colleagues. This is applicable especially when new employees are onboarded, as they feel left out in interactions or in aligning with the organisational or functional goals,” said Careernet CEO and co-founder Anshuman Das.
“Flexibility will also open doors of employment to women in Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities removing geographical boundaries as a physical constraint. In 2021, JobsForHer received 28 per cent of total registrations from these cities and by 2022, it has increased to 35% registrations from Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities,” explained JobsForHer founder & CEO Neha Bagaria. A survey conducted by the portal recently revealed that in 2020, 40 per cent of women professionals preferred a mixture of work from home and the office. In 2021, the percentage has gone up to 49.5 per cent of women employees wanting flexibility in their job.
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