Work from office, moonlighting, mental well-being — Workplace trends of 2022 that are likely to persist in the new year

Work from office, moonlighting, mental well-being — Workplace trends of 2022 that are likely to persist in the new year
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  • According to a report by job-finding platform Indeed India, about one in five employees in the IT sector are keen on moonlighting to make extra money.
  • A majority of employers in e-commerce, construction and real estate preferred to have their staff working from the office.
  • However, remote working is still expected to continue in the job market.
  • Employee wellbeing has become central to many companies, who have started revising their existing employee policies to reflect this.
The Covid-19 pandemic has completely changed the way people work. The year 2022 was all about moonlighting, getting back to office, employee wellbeing and quiet quitting. Industry experts believe that these workplace trends will continue to persist in India in 2023 as well.

Moonlighting: The debate rages on

Moonlighting — which became one of the most-talked-about trends this year — means taking up an additional job or more alongside an existing job. Business leaders of big companies have been very vocal about the issue.

IT major Wipro has been the harshest critic of this trend, firing 300 staff for moonlighting. TCS and Infosys have also been critical of the practice that has been seen as unethical.

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Critics of the practice say that the employee offer letters clearly prohibits dual employment, and if they are found to be in transgression, companies have the right to fire them. However, advocates of moonlighting argue that as long as the employee’s moonlighting is not aiding a competitor or affecting the employer’s work, it is not unethical.

The government also got in on the debate and clarified the law with regards to moonlighting.


Minister of state for labour Rameswar Teli – in a written reply to a question on moonlighting in the Lok Sabha on December 19 – said that staff can’t take up additional work that is against the interest of its employer. “As per the Industrial Employment (Standing Orders) Act, 1946, a workman shall not at any time work against the interest of the industrial establishment in which he is employed and shall not take any employment in addition to his job in the establishment, which may adversely affect the interest of his employer,” he said.

However, according to a report by job-finding platform Indeed India, about one in five employees in the IT sector are keen on moonlighting to make an extra buck.

Aligned to this, companies like IT major Tech Mahindra, online food delivery platform Swiggy and employee wellness platform Nova Benefits have said that their employees are allowed to take up side hustles as long as it doesn’t affect their own work.

As long as employees remain keen on additional sources of income, companies will have their hands full trying to figure out strategies to retain talent while satisfying their need for extra income and challenging projects.

Remote working to stay relevant

This year saw a partial reversal of a key pandemic era trend, the work-from-home (WFH) option – with many companies, including IT majors, calling their employees back to office and doing away with the WFH option. However, most companies and employees are struggling to get back to normal after getting used to the ‘new normal’ of WFH.

In 2023, there will be more companies who might turn strict about workplace presence.

According to data shared by Indeed India, a majority of employers in e-commerce (95%), and construction and real estate (90%) prefer to have their staff working from the office, while 37% of employers in the IT sector planned on having their employees work remotely.

Employees in the IT sector have already restarted working physically from the office, at least for three days a week, with WFH being allowed only on health grounds.

Chandigarh topped the list of cities where employers preferred to have people working from the office, followed by Mumbai and Bangalore, where 26% and 21% of employers, respectively, preferred hybrid/remote work, as per Indeed India.

However, companies could face a lot of resistance from employees who are reluctant to get back to offices. According to Tech Talent Outlook by job site SCIKEY, 82% of employees in the IT sector want to work from home rather than from the office. The remote working trend, which was initially forced on employees at the beginning to Covid-19 pandemic, has now become a preferred mode of working.

A more recent Nasscom and Indeed India’s Gen Z and Millennials: Reshaping the Future of Workforce report said that while the future of work would continue to be hybrid, their survey found that Gen Zs were more willing to go to office – 85% of Gen Zs preferred to either work completely from office or in a hybrid mode (a combination of office and remote working)

Employees believe that working from home allows for more autonomy and productivity while cutting down commute time. “Increasingly, employees are showing a preference for organisations that value employees’ time, have an inclusive work environment and prioritise initiatives such as diversity and sustainability. These elements will be crucial for organisations to create a work model that best suits their sector,” said Sashi Kumar, head of sales, Indeed India.

While there could be a move back to office, some degree of remote working will persist, believe experts. “Hybrid mode and remote working will continue to stay relevant in the coming years owing to the large-scale organisational benefits they offer,” said Anil Agarwal, CEO and co-founder, InCruiter, a Bangalore-based human resource consulting platform.

Can companies overcome quiet quitting?

Quiet quitting is another trend that emerged this year due to employee stress and burnout. It refers to an employee doing just enough work to cover the contractual obligation and nothing more, in order to spend time on personal activities.

According to Indeed India's report, 33% of the employers surveyed believe that low general job satisfaction (boredom, lack of challenges, etc.) is the main reason for the growing trend of quiet quitting, while 21% believe it is a lack of commitment to jobs.

Other employees believe excessive burnout, being overwhelmed with work and a lack of support from managers or bosses, has led to the rise in quiet quitting.

If businesses want to attract and retain talent, they will have to pay close attention to their employees’ needs, especially that of the Gen Zs and millennials since they form a large chunk of the working population. To illustrate, Gen Zs and millennials together constituted almost 90% of the total employee base in the tech industry in FY22.

While for Gen Zs, better financial benefits, career growth and job satisfaction are what matter the most when deciding to continue working in an organisation, millennials look at job stability and flexibility to make this decision, as per the Nasscom-Indeed report.

Many companies have now started revising their existing employee policies, making them more employee-centric. They are also starting to focus more on the mental wellbeing of employees, trends that are likely to continue into the new year.

For instance, e-commerce platform Meesho gave its employees 11 days of mental health leaves this year to help them reset and recharge after a hectic festive season.

This is the second time that Meesho has given mental health leaves to its employees this year.The company also announced an unlimited leave policy that allows employees to avail up to 365 days of paid leaves.

“They (the companies) also strive to make the current work culture more inclusive, where employees are recognised for their hard work and diligence. Most importantly, driving work-life balance has become a priority, especially after the pandemic,” Agarwal added.

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