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GenZs, millennials want to be back to offices even as costs pinch

GenZs, millennials want to be back to offices even as costs pinch
  • Over half of GenZs and millennials surveyed say they prefer ‘only office’ working models.
  • Gen X Plus, over 50, crave for flexibility with work, as they miss work-life balance.
  • High cost of living in cities, reverse migration and long commutes are challenges that employees cite about working from offices.
One of India’s largest companies TCS has recently reversed its pandemic-time WFH policy and asked its employees to come back to work. The reason? It wants teams to work together, co-exist and especially new hires who have never seen ‘office’ to learn from their colleagues.

It looks like employees are half-way there too, and miss being a part of teams. “Collaborating with their teams, socializing and bonding with colleagues, and having in-person meetings with clients are among the top reasons why employees want to go back to the office,” says a report by Awfis and Savills India.

The generation that’s most eager to come to office are the GenZs and millennials. Over half of them surveyed prefer an ‘only office’ working model. This preference among the younger workforce might be linked to the significance they place on interpersonal interactions in the workplace, the report says.

“Despite the common belief that the younger workforce seeks remote isolation, our research uncovers a significant desire for the indispensable impact of human interaction in a physical workplace. In a digital age, it is heartening to observe the enduring significance of the physical office as a center for fostering creativity, innovation, and shared learning experiences,” said Sumit Lakhani, deputy CEO of Awfis, a co-working space network.

GenX Plus respondents, i.e. those over 50 years of age, veered towards hybrid or office-dominated work models as they crave for flexibility, the report adds.

Metro office want them back

In the survey, 66% respondents said that they have been mandated to go to office. But half of them also said that they prefer it that way.

The location of the office also matters when it comes to calling people back-to-office. In Delhi-NCR, Mumbai, and Bengaluru, 71% of employees are required to work exclusively from the office in contrast to 63% in other cities.

“In the top three cities, the only-office model is more prevalent, indicating a higher emphasis on in-office work. Other cities are more likely to adopt only-remote and remote-dominant hybrid work models, highlighting a greater preference for remote work or a mix of remote and office work,” the report added.

Reverse migration and commutes

The shift from work-from-home to back-to-office is riddled with challenges. Not only has a lot of the workforce shifted to their hometowns, a few have gotten used to managing work and personal life – a habit that would be hard to shake off.

While going back-to-office will relieve people from the fatigue of working from home, it also means dealing with early morning traffic and more. As many as 31% of respondents considered commuting to work as their biggest concern, while 26% of respondents considered the high cost of living to be their primary challenge.

For 16% of them, relocating from their hometown is a challenge. And, for 15% poor work-life balance to be a reason to not return to office.

The higher costs are pinching Gen Zs the most as they face the after-effects of reverse migration. Gen-Xers say that poor-work life balance as a reason, early millennials believe that inability to focus will creep in as they work from office only.


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