As demand for WFH grows, companies in Bengaluru say status quo remains for now

Experts say most big companies have systems in place for water conservation and the focus should be on ensuring that Bengaluru manages its water systems better to ensure water for all

March 23, 2024 09:15 pm | Updated March 25, 2024 02:04 pm IST - Bengaluru

Many of those demanding work-from-home option believe that allowing them to work from their home towns will result in depopulating Bengaluru, which will ease the situation.

Many of those demanding work-from-home option believe that allowing them to work from their home towns will result in depopulating Bengaluru, which will ease the situation. | Photo Credit: File Photo

Ever since Bengaluru started feeling the pinch about the water situation, demand for work from home (WFH) has almost overtaken calls for conservation efforts and other long-term solutions. Many of those demanding WFH believe that allowing them to work from their home towns will result in depopulating the city, which will ease the situation.

Social media users have left a trail of comments on the water situation, which include arguments that more IT companies in Bengaluru mean more people migrating to the city, more infrastructure, and more stress on water resources, which is why companies need to provide WFH as an alternative. Many have argued that the city is visibly overpopulated and in addition to paying heavy rent and maintenance, they are now being forced to buy water.

However, a cross-section of companies The Hindu spoke to said the status quo remains for now and they would only think of going back to complete remote work like in the times of the COVID-19 pandemic if the situation demands it.

Krishna Bettan from workplace resources, NetApp, said the ongoing water crisis is a temporary situation. “At the office, we’re putting in more measures to restrict wastage of water as we’ve always been doing. But the work situation is hybrid and employees come to the office on a needs basis. Teams take a call based on their work and deliverables,” he said.

Priya M. Pillai , HR, Titan, said post-COVID-19, they were clear that there would be no WFH option for retail and manufacturing. However, she acknowledged that talent retention was also a factor as WFH became a prime asking factor. “COVID broke the myth that output means having to sit in the office. We took a calibrated policy. So flexibility has increased. Every Wednesday is a work from anywhere because the weekend may not be enough. But we have never had WFH completely wherein people are being forced to come back to work,” she said.

Even for smaller teams of bigger companies in Bengaluru, hybrid continues to be the way forward. Gayathri Shankar, Head DEI, Ramboll India, which operates out of a coworking space in Bengaluru, said, “We have not seen any need for us to enter the space of the employees’ personal life on the water front. In the office, we’ve been doing what we have to conserve water. Hybrid will continue. As of now, we haven’t thought of increasing it. We will know the situation once schools close for vacation. The way forward is tied up with the timelines and the water situation. The buildings we work out of have not got any communication on frugal supply as of now.”

Meanwhile, Amit Agarwal, CEO and Co-founder,, said the demand for office spaces has experienced a substantial uptick across all major metropolitan areas. “In Bengaluru, gross leasing volume experienced a notable surge of approximately 30% in 2023 when compared with 2021, surpassing the pre-pandemic peak of 2019.”

Asked how the water situation is affecting this, he said, “Undoubtedly, there has been an increased demand for water supply in office spaces, attributed to companies urging employees to return to the workplace. Notably, in A-grade office spaces, we have not identified water shortage as a predominant consideration for companies seeking office spaces thus far. Having said this, water is a critical parameter and worry is being felt across the city as we are entering the summer season.”

Water conservationist S. Vishwanath concurred, saying most big companies have systems in place for water conservation. About the WFH argument, he said, “Bengaluru is an engine of livelihood. We need to make sure it is liveable. We need to manage our water systems better to ensure water for all.”

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