Return to office of IT employees likely to take time

One-and-a-half years after switching to work from home mode, information technology firms in the city vary widely in their assessment of how many of the over six lakh people they employ will resume work from office in the months ahead, if findings of a Hyderabad Software Enterprises Association survey are any indication.

Conducted to get a peek into future working models and amid Telangana government nudging the firms to call employees back to office, the survey showed the number could be less than 30% to as much as 90% by this fiscal.

While 20% of the companies said they will have more than 90% workforce working from office (WFO) by March, another 20% said they will have less than 30% of employees WFO by the same time frame. The remaining 60% of companies will have 30-89% employees WFO, the survey report released on Tuesday said.

Uncertainty is high

The responses are a reflection of the uncertainty as well as the multiple factors at play, including the fear of contracting the virus, more waves of COVID-19, level of vaccination among the employees and the support staff, comfort developed WFH as well attrition rates.

“Any results which has such a huge range means that there is so much of uncertainty,” HYSEA president Bharani K. Aroll said. The survey said by December this year, 73% of the companies are looking to have 10-50% of employees back in office, while the remaining 27% said they are likely to operate with less than 10% employees WFO.

Over 50 small as well as medium, large and very large (MLVL) member-companies of HYSEA, representing nearly 25% of the IT/ITeS workforce in the city, participated in the survey. Nearly 45% of the respondents were GCCs or global companies with their technology operations in Hyderabad.

The survey report said MLVL companies — firms employing over 500 people — are likely to give a realistic picture of the situation given their employee base. Nearly 76% of the companies surveyed have less than 9% WFO at present, while for MLVL companies this number is less than 5%. Also, not only is an overwhelming majority of Hyderabad’s IT/ITeS employee WFH, but a good number are operating from outside Hyderabad.

Living outside

Estimating that nearly two lakh of the six lakh IT employees are not in Hyderabad, the report said this factor will eventually be a big constraint in pushing for return to office.

Mr. Aroll said while a number of factors may determine WFO numbers going forward, what, however, is likely to make a big difference is clients expecting employees of vendor firms to WFO. “It is a evolving situation, there will be more pressure from the clients. They are asking their employees [too] to come back,” he said.

For employees too, teamwork and collaboration and in person mentorship, training and development are important for professional growth, he added.

However, not all companies are expected to call all employees to office even after the pandemic. They are likely instead to opt for hybrid work model based on function and productivity with a section of workforce given WFH option. WFH is also likely to be leveraged as an incentive to tide over talent supply chain challenges of future, the report said.

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Printable version | Sep 22, 2021 6:16:30 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Hyderabad/return-to-office-of-it-employees-likely-to-take-time/article35705193.ece

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