Careers

Bringing the office closer home

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Companies with multiple addresses in a city can easily help their employees tide over commuting-related problems

Last month, tyre-manufacturing company CEAT opened an office in Borivali, a suburb in Mumbai, primarily to spare a sizeable section of its workforce the hassle of a long commute to the company’s headquarters in Worli. Frequent traffic congestion on the Western Express Highway, which is part of the arterial route leading to Worli, is reportedly among the factors that contributed to this decision.

In August 2018, semiconductor multinational company Advanced Micro Devices set up a “satellite office” in Bengaluru, and the move is said to have been shaped by a survey that showed 40% of its workforce lived in areas close to the Central Business District.

Early this year, when the Electronic City flyover, the lifeline to a major IT Corridor in Bengaluru, was closed for maintenance, Robert Bosch Engineering and Business Solutions Private Limited allowed its employees to choose any of its four facilities in the city to work from.

When a company has multiple addresses, it can help its workforce tide over commuting-related problems. It can come in handy particularly for companies whose nature of operations is not conducive to readily offering a work-from-home arrangement.

A different scenario

Sometimes, companies may have to centralise their operations, and in process shut down a few offices. In this scenario, a good part of the workforce will suddenly be faced with the problem of a long commute. How does a company deal with this issue?

In 2017, NetApp India consolidated its offices in Bengaluru and moved to a 15-acre space in Whitefield. The company offered many doles, including a relocation allowance to those who moved closer to the new office; one-time reimbursement of packing-and-moving charges for those moving within 10 km from the office; reimbursement in brokerage fee and one-time broadband installation. A 50% subsidy on items bought at the cafeteria was offered as an incentive to move closer to the new office.

“About 20% of our employees availed the offer,” says Aanandita Bhatnagar, director, Corporate Communications, NetApp. Today, the company has 2,000 employees with a host of added amenities on the campus.

“We were able to take our employees with us and engage them so well that we climbed nearly 30 spots to rank #7 in 2017 in the Good Place To Work survey. It was the same year that we moved to the new office,” says Aanandita.

Co-working spaces to the rescue

While some companies go in for satellite offices, there will also be others who go the other way — bringing their various offices in a city into one common space.

Usually, the reasons are obvious: Reducing operational costs; and creating synergy among its various wings. In Bengaluru, this year, Goldman Sachs and Swiggy have turned their back on the multiple-offices model. Oracle is joining the club. Last year, Flipkart moved its associates to a new office at Embassy Tech Village in Bengaluru.

“In Chennai, TCS, for example, closed its Cathedral Road office to move its associates to the Siruseri facility a few years ago,” says Sanjay Chugh, city head — Chennai, Anarock Property Consultants. Chugh says that with many co-working spaces on offer, having multiple offices may not be great idea anymore.

Companies with its operations concentrated in one space can always book a co-working space for its employees, or let them work from home, says Chugh, adding that many companies offer employees a pick-and-drop provision at the closest metro or from their houses.

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Printable version | Jan 26, 2020 6:27:26 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/education/careers/bringing-the-office-closer-home/article30024776.ece

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