HCL Says Employees To Face “Disciplinary Action” If They Don’t Work From Office 3 Days A Week

Thus far, Indian IT companies had been gently coaxing and cajoling employees back into office. But their tone has changed in the last few weeks.

HCL has told employees to report to office at least three times a week. If they fail to do so, HCL says they could face “disciplinary action”. All DFS (Digital Foundation Services) employees, irrespective of their band (E0 and above), will be required to work from their designated HCLTech offices for a minimum of three days a week,” an email from HCL’s global head Vikas Sharma said. Earlier this month, TCS had given employees a “final warning” and they would face “consequences” if they didn’t return to offices.

HCLTech’s senior managers and the leadership team have already started working on the hybrid mode of work and coming to office at least three days a week, HCL’s email said. “Effective February 19, 2024, the same hybrid work model will be applicable to all employees of Digital Foundation Services, including E0 to E3,” the email further read. The E0 to E3 employees are in the entry to senior manager levels from 1-10 years of experience, while, E4 plus is mid management and above band of employees. Freshers and entry level employees undergoing on-the-job training, on the other hand, will be required to work from office on all five days of the week.

At the moment, the most stringent work from office requirements have come from TCS, which has said that employees need to work from office 5 days a week from next month. HCL is now asking employees to work from office for 3 days a week. Infosys has been the least stringent, and currently requires employees to work from office for 10 days a month.

This is dramatically different from just a few years ago, when IT services companies had all started working from home when the pandemic had struck. But as the pandemic had ebbed away, companies had slowly tried to get their employees back into offices. TCS had run social media campaigns to get employees to return, and in early 2023, Wipro and TCS had asked employees to work from office for at least 3 days in a week. Wipro Chairman Rishad Premji had gone has far as to say that working from home had made IT a “spoilt” industry. Earlier this month, TCS had hardened its stance, saying that it would link salary hikes and promotions to office attendance, and then warned employees of “consequences” if they didn’t return.

And IT companies might get their way, thanks largely to macroeconomic factors. India’s IT sector is currently facing a slowdown, and companies are jettisoning staff — fresher hiring has been curtailed, and many IT companies are laying off employees. Amidst all this, employees might not have too many options, and could be forced to acquiesce with their companies’ wishes. And with most IT companies now calling employees back to office in unison, it appears that the days of remote work in India’s IT sector might be truly numbered.