- No timeline yet; depends on the path of the pandemic
- No loss in productivity as people have got used to WFH
- Has broken mental barrier that WFH will hit employee efficiency
- Lower real estate investment; reduced travel costs
As the lockdown is opening up, several companies are relooking their work from home policies. In the IT sector, TCS announced that a whopping 75% of its 4.48 lakh employees globally will work from home by 2025.
Next in line to rejig its work from home policy is Infosys. Over a call with Business Today, Richard Lobo, Executive Vice President, Head HR, Infosys said, "Once things are normal, over a period of time, probably 50 per cent of employees will come to office and the rest will work from home. Moving on, 66 per cent will be in office but 33 per cent will work permanently from home." That translates to around 80,000 of its 2,42,371 employees globally to be working from home permanently.
He added, "a large proportion of our people will continue to work from home or work remotely. Though, it will not always be the same set of people. I don't see any shift in that because people have now become used to it across the world." The IT firm didn't share the timeline by when it is likely to happen. "We don't have a timeline to share because it depends largely on how the disease goes and I can't predict that path," says Lobo.
As offices are opening up gradually, Infosys has currently about 5 per cent of its workforce going to office in India while the rest are working from home. For the plan for the next few months, Lobo said, "we can't predict the course of the pandemic but if it is following the path that it is, for most countries and if everything goes well, a third of total employees will come back to office."
Companies allowed work from home earlier also. But, Covid-19 accelerated the trend. It also broke several mental barriers that it will reduce work productivity or efficiency of employees. "Covid has shown every industry can do it. Fortunately, we are in one of those industries that can support large amount of population to work from home," said Lobo.
In the press conference after the Q4 results on April 20, Infosys COO Pravin Rao said, "We have not seen any loss in productivity since people have got used to it. So I think people are getting adjusted and in some sense our belief is once things come back, I do not know whether it will come back to the same normal, it may be a new normal and there will always be some element of work from home."
On benefits of the remote working model, in the Q4 2020 earnings call Rao had said, "The ability to work remotely also means that...It is possible to leverage people, capability wherever it exists and it is also probably possible to start looking at gig workers and things like that in a way."
He added there are cost benefits too. "You don't have to invest as much in real estate, travel costs may come down but you have to invest a lot more in technology, in security and other things. So net-net, it is a positive thing that has happened..."