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No rush to bring techies back to campuses, say IT companies

As coronavirus spread, the $147 billion industry moved to a work-from-home model for its over 4 million workers.

Last Updated: Jun 04, 2020, 01.54 PM IST
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Work From Home
HCL Technologies has only about 4% of its employees working at customer locations and its offices.
BENGALURU | MUMBAI: IT services providers are treading cautiously over bringing employees back to offices, as India has yet to flatten the coronavirus pandemic curve and workforce productivity has been either unaffected or rising in the last few months.

As Covid-19 infections started to climb in March, the $147 billion Indian outsourcing industry moved to a work-from-home model for its over 4 million workers across the country.

They took permissions from clients for the unprecedented move, shipped desktops and set up security protocols.

Now, it is in no hurry to go back to old ways.

Infosys is enabling a gradual return of employees to offices. Currently, only about 15% of its staff are working from offices across the country.

It is carefully monitoring various office locations and reopening only if the conditions are suitable.

“Considering there has been no loss of productivity with remote working, we want to ensure that return to office is not rushed, and takes into account all elements of employee safety and wellbeing as well as business deliverables,” said Richard Lobo, Executive Vice President, Head HR at Infosys.

Mid-tier IT firm Hexaware Technologies has no employee working from offices.

It is likely to ramp up the number to a maximum 50%, depending on the health status in each community it operates in. It does not, however, anticipate having more than half its staff in offices across locations till a vaccine is widely available.

“Hexaware policy on employees coming back to campus is not linked to government policies and dates of opening. Instead, the primary focus of our policy is to continue to ensure safety of our employees and service continuity to our customers globally. We believe these dual objectives are best met by our employees continuing to work from home,” said R Srikrishna, Chief Executive Officer, Hexaware Technologies Ltd.

HCL Technologies has only about 4% of its employees working at customer locations and its offices.

It continues to operate with minimum necessary services from and allows a limited number of employees to be in to perform essential services.

“The situation is ever evolving and we are reviewing the situation on a regular basis,” a HCL spokesperson said. “We are seeing a significant increase in productivity in the work from home operating model...we have realized that our employee productivity has gone up by 16-17%.”

About 97% of Wipro’s employees are working from home, and the company is adopting a staggered approach towards reopening offices.

During the initial phase, it expects less than 10% of its workforce to return to work at its facilities.

“During the past two months, teams have settled into the cadence of working remotely,” Wipro said in an email. “We have seen high productivity levels across the board.”

Tech Mahindra is also expected to do a staggered reintegration of its workforce.

“We have done extensive scenario planning and are working towards staggered reintegration of the workforce which involves allowing a select number of critical associates, depending on local and state regulations,” said Harshvendra Soin, Chief People Officer, Tech Mahindra.

The Thiruvananthapuram-based UST Global is planning to bring in employees in phases spread over eight to 10 weeks. Less than 10% of its workforce across all centres are working from offices now.

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