Overnight shift to work-from-home, but India Inc doesn’t falter

Updated: April 6, 2020 12:55:05 PM

Although the shift to the work-from-home environment may have come abruptly, India Inc come up the curve in no time at all.

Late last month, a client of advisory firm Deloitte ran a virtual workshop for eight hours for 15 people across four countries.

By Anwesha Ganguly

Late last month, a client of advisory firm Deloitte ran a virtual workshop for eight hours for 15 people across four countries. Such an effort would have been unthinkable even a few months back. But although the shift to the work-from-home environment may have come abruptly, India Inc come up the curve in no time at all.

Even hiring has gone digital. “We are using Microsoft Teams to screen and shortlist talent. Features like ‘lobby’, allow us to have digital waiting areas where we can schedule talent one after another with individual interviewers,” Paneesh Rao, chief people officer, Mindtree, told FE.
Companies are quickly warming up to remote work technologies – Flock, Zoom, Slack, Teams – in double quick time: HCL Technologies and Mahindra & Mahindra have ramped up the use of Teams, State Bank of India has been communicating on Zoom, while Aditya Birla Capital uses both. And it is not always work. Employees at the Aditya Birla Group get together for online yoga sessions while at Deloitte employees take ‘chai-breaks’ over video calls.

An AB Capital executive said internal meetings apart, customers are being approached through video conferencing. The HR team at Godrej Group hosts sessions to train employees to use work collaboration and video call software – Microsoft Teams and Workplace.

Sumit Mitra, head, group HR, Godrej Industries, told FE that tool kits had been shared for reference. “We have ensured that all data and platforms have been adjusted for remote working access,” Mitra said. Mohinish Sinha, Partner, Deloitte India, told FE these technologies were designed well and it was up to people to adapt to them organically.

Teams has seen an unprecedented spike in usage with over 44 million daily users globally generating over 900 million meetings and calling minutes each day. The platform added 12 million daily users over seven days to March 19.

Meanwhile, Slack saw connected users increase from 10 million on March 10 to 12.5 million on March 25.

Flock, a workplace collaboration tool designed in India, saw new teams joining the platform just from India growing by nearly three times during the last two weeks in March.

Mindtree’s Rao said his firm had started interviewing prospective candidates – cross country and off-campus – over video calls since March 14 to help keep talent and interviewers safe. Godrej’s Mitra said digital solutions had helped bridge the gap with distributors. “Our business heads routinely connect using video conferencing apps with our key distributors and vendor partners, ” Mitra said.

There are those who discovered working remotely some time back. Zomato, for instance, has been using enterprise communications platform, Dingtalk, for more than a year. Car rental service, Zoomcar, has already been using US-developed work communication tool, Slack. “Our present set-up works sufficiently, though we have significantly increased using softwares like Slack with our teams working remotely,” Greg Moran, co-founder and CEO of Zoomcar, told FE.

Next in line is remote project management software like JIRA and Confluence, Sinha said. “While the focus so far has been on tools to enable people to connect and work remotely, a lot still needs to be done in terms of workflow management,” Sinha said.

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