Flexible working and other employee benefits that were introduced by tech companies during the pandemic, now seem to be under threat due to the ongoing economic uncertainty, a new study by professional networking site LinkedIn found. It said that nine out of every 10 business leaders in India say the current economic climate could threaten flexible working. Also, 71% of leaders in India want employees to work more frequently from office, even as employees continue to seek flexible, remote jobs.
The study comes at a time when companies that transitioned to a remote environment are now opening their offices again and calling back employees. Recently, microblogging site Twitter declared that it is ending remote work for employees. Other tech firms including Apple, Adobe, Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), HCL Tech and Netflix, and many others are also calling back employees at the workplace.
Not just that, Indian business leaders also believe that other areas of work life such as learning and development (90%) and employee wellbeing (89%) too are most likely to be affected in the new economic scenario. In fact, the study found that more than two fifths of India’s business leaders are looking to reduce employee learning and development budgets (43%), and nearly half (49%) are looking to reduce flexible and hybrid working roles (49%).
Notably, new analysis of remote job postings on LinkedIn shows that remote roles are in decline, although the applications to those roles exceed supply by nearly two times in India. In September, 11.3% of paid job postings in India offered a remote working option. However, remote working roles received 20.3% of all job applications.
The research highlights a growing disconnect between what professionals want and what employers are now offering, with the balance of power shifting back to employers as hiring slows. A majority (86%) of business leaders in India are concerned that these cost-cutting measures will have a negative impact on employee motivation levels, which may also be why 84% agree they aren’t able to find the right talent today.
Ashutosh Gupta, India Country Manager, LinkedIn said that he believes in this age of uncertainty; leaders must adopt a forward-thinking approach and continue to invest in their people. “Having a workforce that feels supported and fulfilled will be key to building resilient businesses that drive growth and outperform competitors despite macroeconomic challenges,” he said.
Tech major Microsoft’s 2022 Work Trend Index Pulse Report published in September also signalled a difference in perception between employees and leaders. Ninety-three per cent of employees in India had said that they are productive at work, but 91% of leaders said that the shift to hybrid work made it challenging to have confidence in employees being productive.
That said, 82% of business leaders believe that hybrid working is here to stay for the longer term.
Other studies like a May 2022 PwC survey by the Consulting firm also said that almost a fifth (19%) of employees intend henceforth to work entirely remotely, whereas 37% prefer a hybrid pattern, while just 22% want to return to an office full-time.