From mass resignations to dual employment, the work environment during the pandemic went through a sea change and saw the emergence of new trends. We explore what redefined today’s employment scenario
Change in jobs and careers can be as normal as morning walks. Some plan it, some take it casually, and some do it under pressure but we all do it at least once in a lifetime. However, as Covid hit us, the number of job changes and career switches increased at such a rate that most experts coined their own terms and concepts to define them.
According to a news release by the U.S. Bureau of Labour Statistics, 4,338,000 people quit their current jobs in December 2021 alone. This pattern of job quits – termed as ‘The Great Resignation’ -- was noticed across the U.S.
Back in India, the pattern wasn’t any different. As per a LinkedIn report released this year, 82% of India’s workforce was thinking about changing their jobs in 2022. This spike of the possible changes in India’s employment market is named ‘The Great Reshuffle’.
What’s common between the two phenomenons is that both of them started during the pandemic -- especially when a major part of the workforce had to face economic, physical and mental adversities.
Another trend that emerged around the same time is ‘Moonlighting’ or the concept of dual employment. People with a full-time job are now taking up side projects or engaging in secondary employment. The trend that emerged in the West is now being seen in India as well.
The Legal Aspect
While none of the above trends have any legal implications, until someone tries to twist and turn the rules. Yogesh Sood, Chairman and Managing Director of BYLD Group, a leading HR and business productivity solutions provider said, “Moonlighting is about having a flexible source of employment other than the regular job. It’s not illegal but it can pose problems for the employee if that extra employment creates a conflict of interest with the full-time job”.
As far as any employment-related section in the Indian Penal Code (IPC) is concerned, there is no specific law that restricts anyone from dual employment at the same time. The Factories Act of 1948, however, says that anyone who works in a factory cannot have more than one source of employment. Organisations that don’t come under the definition of the factory must mention the prohibition of dual employment in the contract documents of the employees, the Act says.
And as far as the other two trends about change of jobs, the mutually consented laws regarding resignations must also be mentioned in the contract documents of the employee.
The ‘Why’ Factor
As per a survey done by Catalyst, a global firm focussed on creating a women-friendly workspace, around 41% of the people (who took part in the survey) left their jobs because of the need for flexible timings and flexible locations. An almost equal number of people in the U.S. left their jobs because they felt that the company or their bosses did not take care of them during the pandemic.
A similar phenomenon was noticed in India as well often leading to both physical and mental stress among employees. Research, however, throws up mixed data. Some research says that work from home or hybrid pattern has allowed employees to spend more time with their families making it preferable for them. Few others say that it has contributed to the feeling of burnout and increased stress and emotional imbalance among employees in addition to the other challenges that the pandemic brought along.
Meghna Mittal, Behaviour and Counselling Psychologist and Co-Founder Buddhayan Counselling and Psychotherapy said, “One reason for burn out is that people feel overwhelmed or stressed out from their job. They also feel that they are not able to meet the demands of their job, or that they are not able to accomplish their goals. The feeling of not being appreciated or recognised for their work also adds to the stress.
About ‘moonlighting’, Rasesh Seth, Founder of Nextyn, an on-demand expert network and strategic consulting firm, told Outlook, “People feel ‘moonlighting’ can add to their current monthly income -- 30% of the workforce feels they do not face a challenge in their current role; 42% of the workforce were on job portals looking for a switch; and 18% of the workforce is already doing something in addition to their daily job to earn some extra money or better utilise their free time.”
As the pandemic is showing some signs of receding, normalcy seems possible in the near future. In such a scenario, employers have to understand that times have been hard for everyone and that they have to be a bit forgiving to employees. Though the work environment largely has changed for the good, companies need to understand that empathy is something they have to keep close to their culture.
It’s time to be kind, caring and generous.