Informist, Tuesday, Sep 14, 2021
By Sai Ishwarbharath and Nikita Periwal
CHENNAI/MUMBAI – Information technology companies were one of the fastest to adapt to working from home when COVID-19 struck, and are among the few sectors which are still letting most of their employees work from home.
Even though these software service providers started getting their employees back to the office, they will do so in a staggered manner, and let employees take a call of whether they want to come to offices, at least over the next few months.
"Our associates have the freedom and flexibility to work from anywhere, and only those who are doubly vaccinated are requested to come to the office," said Harshvendra Soin, Tech Mahindra Ltd's global chief people officer and head of marketing.
"Till December, all associates have been advised to choose their work location as per their convenience," he told Informist.
Even the limited return is subject to the impact of the forthcoming COVID wave, if any, companies said.
After following a COVID-19-led work from home model for close to two years now, companies are planning to bring back only a limited percentage of the total workforce.
"Over the next six months or so, assuming that the impact of any subsequent COVID-19 wave is minimal, we foresee about 20-30% of our employees working from office at any given time. This could vary across regions, and depends on the nature of the project, client requirements, and individual preferences," said Richard Lobo, the executive vice-president, head HR, Infosys Ltd.
This comes as the country's largest IT services provider Tata Consultancy Services Ltd last week, said it aimed for 70-80% of its 509,000 workforce returning to its physical offices by the year-end or early 2022.
The move was to "replenish" the social capital an office environment fosters, its Chief Operating Officer N. Ganapathy Subramaniam told a global publication.
Peers, however, indicated that the percentage of workforce returning to offices may not be that high. Certain companies also plan to ask employees return to the office only on selective days in a week.
HCL Technologies Ltd said it may start encouraging employees to return for one or two days in a week depending on their roles but will not mandate the rule for a brief period.
"We feel that the employees’ coming back to the office is a healthy initiative because now it is almost 18-months that most people are working from home," the Noida-headquartered company's spokesperson said.
The pandemic has also made permanent changes in the way mid-cap IT companies may deliver services. L&T Technology Services Ltd is also looking a "hybrid model" where employees may get back to office on a rotational basis with their managers deciding on the weekly or monthly rosters, said Abhishek Sinha, chief operating officer of the company.
Wipro Ltd’s senior leaders returned to physical offices from this week after a gap of 18 months, Chairman Rishad Premji tweeted.
Technology companies were among the earliest to procure vaccines for their employees, and interestingly, are not rushing on returning to offices despite 80% of employees receiving at least one dose of the vaccination.
Apart from employee safety, the finance teams may also be working on the profitability impact due to the workforce returning to office in full strength, say analysts.
Along with the high wage hikes, return of travel and office-related expenses like rent and power may negatively impact the operating margins of companies going forward, said Peter Bendor-Samuel, chief executive officer of IT research and consultancy firm Everest Group. End
Edited by Akul Nishant Akhoury
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