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Startups returning to work-from-office

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According to a report in the Economic Times

Several startups, particularly in cities that have low positivity rates, have now resumed work from office with anywhere between 50-100% of staff coming back to work, on a rotational basis in some cases. The reason? Employees, particularly young ones, are keen on getting back to “normal” from the “new normal”.

“Many employees feel collaboration becomes easier when in office premises and some of them prefer coming to office than work from home (WFH) due to space and WiFi constraints. Also, as we have a young workforce on an average, they like to connect with their peers over working alone at home,” said Amrit Jaidka Arora, human resources head at Digit Insurance, an insurance tech company that was the first Indian unicorn of 2021.

ET spoke to nearly a dozen companies – including Digit Insurance, Droom, MedikaBazaar, 91springboard, Taskmo, Ergos, Healthians, Colive, Burger Singh, mPokket and BeatO – that said they chose to do this as most of their employees have had at least one dose. Many also said the brainstorming and collaborative culture typical to a startup can only flourish in person. The companies said they continue to follow strict Covid-19 norms of social distancing and sanitisation.

Droom, 91springboard and Healthians have nearly all their staff coming back to work, barring a very small percentage that hasn’t due to health issues or comorbidities. Droom founder and chief executive Sandeep Aggarwal said it was important to “start leading a relatively normal life… keeping all safety and precautions intact.” The company’s entire staff is back at work.

“None of the departments are currently in a complete WFH mode at 91springboard,” said Anand Vemuri, chief executive, 91springboard, a coworking company. He added that those with comorbidities or personal conditions that required them to exercise extra caution were exempted. In cities where transport restrictions or other government guidelines are in place, employees come to work on a rotational basis, he said.

In many cases, companies have decided that certain teams will continue to work from home, while the rest have been called to the office. The IT, sales and marketing team, which make up 19% of the workforce, are in WFH mode and will continue to be for the foreseeable future, said Burger Singh chief executive Kabir Jeet Singh. The remaining 81% come to work on a rotation basis.

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