Challenges persist for IT firms to call employees back to office

Small IT firms already have 50-60% of the employees back in office since WFH is not viable for such entities.   | Photo Credit: RAMAKRISHNA G

Information technology (IT) firms in Hyderabad are keen on getting employees back to office but going slow in the face of multiple challenges, including half of the workforce not residing in the city, everyone yet to be fully vaccinated as well as rising attrition rates.

“The intent, sentiment of our members is to bring employees back to office. It is something that has to happen, but taking time,” says Bharani K Aroll, president of Hyderabad Software Enterprises Association (HSYEA).

The reason is to not only to help the ecosystem around, but very importantly, employees who are stressed out sitting in front of computers, with no in-person collaboration with colleagues ever since work from home (WFH) began, he said in an interaction recently.

Asserting that IT firms are sensitive to the fact that livelihood of those in the support ecosystem such as housekeeping staff, cab drivers and security guards are dependent on functioning of their facilities, he said one factor that is bound to accelerate the switch from WFH is vaccination.

An estimated 60% of IT employees have got one shot of vaccine. The number of those who have got both the shots will be less than 10%. Besides employees, the support staff also have to be vaccinated. By September-end, things are expected to look up, he said.

Vaccination, however, will not pave the way for return of all IT employees as those in the GICs (Global Inhouse Centres) will remain to be guided by decisions their firms take for the global workforce. Small IT firms already have 50-60% of the employees back in office since WFH is not viable for such entities, while medium-sized entities are making the switch gradually. Overall, the number of employees working from office is less, influenced by the decision of large companies, who are also large employers, to continue with WFH.

An increase in attrition rate is only making matters difficult for many companies. Lateral hiring is on the rise with companies bagging new projects and many employees prefering to join companies that assure WFH for a few more months to come. Among reasons for employees not in favour of returning to office is a fear of further COVID-19 waves, the comfort level they have developed after moving to their native places where the cost of living is also less as well as the fact that schools and crèches are yet to reopen, thus making it difficult for them to leave children alone at home.

“Most importantly, 50% of the employees are not in Hyderabad; they are scattered all around and [will] take time to come back,” Mr.Aroll said, adding more details on return to office are expected from a survey HYSEA has commissioned.

HYSEA has more than 300 members who between them account for nearly 90% of Telangana’s IT/ITeS industry revenue and employee headcount.

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Printable version | Sep 17, 2021 11:39:47 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Hyderabad/challenges-persist-for-it-firms-to-call-employees-back-to-office/article35690127.ece

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