EY Global Delivery Services (EY GDS) and KPMG Global Services (KGS) are asking their India-based back-office teams to return to the office, according to a new report by The Economic Times. The two businesses provide back-office services to the global member firms of their parent companies and have been working remotely due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which severely disrupted the nation mid-2021.
Both companies have sent emails to specific teams and newly hired employees mandating a return to office, with KGS asking its consulting teams to return at least two days a week beginning in April. Several of India’s top IT companies such as Wipro, Infosys and Tata Consultancy Services have reportedly sent out similar communications.
In the email, KGS said: “In continuation of this effort to provide our colleagues with optimum work-life flexibility, we will implement hybrid work across all teams at KGS Consulting starting 3 April 2023. This means that colleagues will be required to work from their designated offices for a minimum of two days a week.”
The companies’ global delivery centers primarily provide IT support capabilities in data and analytics, artificial intelligence/machine learning, as well as backend technical support to internal teams and clients along with consulting, accounting and tax functions, though not in client-facing roles. The delivery arms of the Big Four firms collectively employ an estimated 100k-120k people in India.
The move comes at a time when numerous global companies are using a variety of incentives, requests and outright pressure to get their workforces to return to physical offices after years of working remotely. Tim Cook, Chief Executive Officer of Apple, led a push to get employees to return to the office in mid-2022, receiving significant pushback from staff leading to several departures from the company. The global tech giant has yet to successfully sell its people on a return to in-person work and has reportedly been considering taking action against employees who do not work from onsite offices at least three days a week.
While the pandemic may have led to a significant shift in remote working, it appears that the tide may be turning against the novel approach which is largely favored by workers. Increased workforce turnover has resulted in a large number of new employees who have never met their colleagues in person, which business leaders maintain is unhealthy for company culture. Whether KPG and EY GDS’ move will be successful remains to be seen, but remote workers across the globe may soon feel more pressure to adapt to a hybrid or full return to the office.