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There's no replacement to returning to office and connecting in person: Wipro's Rishad Premji

There's no replacement to returning to office and connecting in person: Wipro's Rishad Premji

Premji firmly believes that a hybrid model is the way forward and he would like his employees to come into office some of the time.

Rishad Premji, Chairman of Wipro Rishad Premji, Chairman of Wipro

According to a recent Work Trend report by Microsoft, 53 per cent of the global workforce are considering to go fully remote or as millennials would say, “work from anywhere”. It appears that post the pandemic, employees have a new “worth it” equation: One in every two of the people surveyed are considering changing employers in the coming year.

So, in that context, the revelations made by Wipro’s Rishad Premji in a conversation with Business Today at Davos become a lot more interesting. He said that nearly 45 per cent of the Wipro workforce has never worked from a company office and that the company has hired nearly 40,000 freshers this year. This comes at a time when there is inordinate demand and finite supply for tech talent.

“We’ve significantly increased our fresher hirings. We are giving them a roadmap. So, we are telling them if you join us today, then in your offer letter, if you do X,Y and Z and grow and perform at these levels, you can be at a compensation of X and doing these kinds of roles in the fifth year,“ said Premji.

Premji firmly believes that a hybrid model is the way forward and he would like his employees to come into office some of the time. His rationale for people to come back to office is two fold- to promote culture and innovation. He explains, “A bunch of people want to come back and have that sense of connectedness and a social equation in the office. They want to build a sense of community around them as well.”

According to the Microsoft report, Premji’s views resonate with a lot of employers, who say their company is planning a return to the office full time within the next year, but a whopping 52 per cent majority of employees prefer the flexibility of remote and hybrid work.

Premji clarifies that there is an inherent advantage to flexibility and that is inclusiveness, so it will become imperative to strike a fine balance. He adds, “I mean the other advantage to your point of having flexibility is inclusiveness. You can attract people who want the flexibility: women after having children, people with disabilities, people who want to stay in small towns. And so maybe we'll also come up with the model where “x” percentage of our people can work from home, on a full-time and maybe come in for a few days a month etc. But for the majority of people we would want to try and push to get to some sort of a hybrid model and we'll discover what that is.”