No place like home: Organisations pushing employees are in conflict with Gen Z for remote working
Organisations pushing employees to return to offices stands in conflict with Gen Z who have found comfort in remote working
Ritika Bhagat (21), a recent commerce graduate from West Delhi, received a job offer from a Gurugram-based staffing and HR organisation in April this year. Bhagat, who was both excited and nervous, took up the role of a business development professional and commenced remote work—a mode that allows employees to work outside the traditional office set-up, something companies followed during the pandemic-induced lockdown.
However, seven months on the job and Bhagat quit due to a simple reason—the organisation had discontinued the work-from-home (WFH) policy, making it compulsory for everyone to rejoin office. “Since the time I started working, I have worked from home. The compulsion to come to office everyday just doesn’t suit me,” comments Bhagat, who has taken up a job at another firm that follows a hybrid work model (both in-office and remote work).
Therefore, as the coronavirus pandemic gradually recedes, the push by some organisations to get people back into offices stands in opposition to workers’ will who have wholeheartedly embraced remote working as the new normal.
The last two years have made people realise that, given the available technology, a lot of work can be completed in remote work set-ups. Therefore, spending hours commuting in over-crowded trains or being stuck in a jam is a major drawback of working from the office. “Offices usually have a mandate to work for eight to 10 hours. But when you are working from the office, you aren’t working for the stipulated time; you are also spending more than four hours commuting. It then comes down to a 14-hour workday,” explains Amisha Chopra (21), a business development professional, who is planning to quit her workplace soon mentioning “It [wasting so many hours a day] just isn’t worth it.” Apart from this, the money spent on commuting is another problem. “I spend about Rs.300 daily on my commute if I go to the office five days a week. This way, I am spending a quarter of my salary just travelling,” adds the West Delhi-resident whose office is headquartered in Gurugram.
Seeking work-life balance
Multinational accounting organisation Deloitte's 2022 Global Millennial and Gen Z Survey—it solicited the views of 801 respondents (500 Gen Zs and 301 millennials) from India—revealed that both the generations increasingly prefer flexible work as an opportunity to improve work-life balance. Case in point is Aayush Jha (24)—he declined a job offer from a global home services company on account of the organisation’s policy of work from office in January this year. Jha says, “Office from work becomes restrictive. With remote working, there is a scope to work as per one’s comfort, without having to spend time travelling anywhere. As soon as your work is done, you leave your room, meet friends or family, or maybe just watch a show. You make more time for yourself,” adding that a hybrid work set-up would suit him the most.
Most Gen Zs have entered the workforce by working from home. In such a scenario, regular office culture of meeting others and networking isn’t an attraction to them anymore. “If you are working in a corporate, you have to know that nobody cares about you. They just want work to be done. In WFH, you are at your place, working peacefully, and spending the rest of the time doing what you like,” concludes 21-year-old M* (name changed on request of anonymity), who works as a content moderator at a Gurugram-based multinational conglomerate company.
MILLENNIALS VS GEN Z
I prefer WFH; it is more relaxed. I live in a joint family, so WFH means I get to be there for my family. On days that I have to go to the office, I end up spending about four hours commuting.
Rahul Yadav (32)
I like working from the office; you get to socialise, meet new people and connect with them. I am the kind of person who can't be on a leash. I need fresh air; I want to see new faces. As an architect, going out is the only way I get to earn my bread and butter as it opens new doors.
Eshmeet Kaur Bakshi (25)
At first, WFH seemed like a great opportunity. But, eventually, we all longed to be in office again. However, five days in office can get a little taxing. So, if given a chance, I would prefer a hybrid work model.
Ishita Roy (26)
I prefer the hybrid work model. With WFH, you get bored and work doesn’t seem like work. Working from the office the whole time, too, doesn’t work for me, because it gets taxing after a point.
Abhay Verma (24)
WFH is comfortable but then the line between personal and professional lives is blurred. In the office, there is a social aspect, the scope to interact with people. Hybrid working would thus be the best option.
Harshit Goyal (21)
Someone who has just graduated would find it difficult to work from the office the entire time. Going to the office daily might be monotonous for most Gen Zs. Hybrid should be the way forward.
Prachi Nirwan (21)