After a two-year long hiatus, several IT companies In Pune have begun exploring ways of bringing employees back to work. To begin with, companies are looking at a hybrid model. With Covid cases on the decline, government easing restrictions and majority of the staff vaccinated, many companies are looking at possibilities of reopening offices. Most companies continue to offer employees more flexibility than they previously did. Many are still in the process of firming up precise policies.
Pune has over 4-5 lakh IT professionals working in various pockets of the city, including Hinjewadi which is among the largest software parks, Magarpatta, Kharadi Viman Nagar, Kalyani Nagar and Tathawade among others.
TCS says that it is transitioning into a hybrid mode of working with associates choosing to spend time at both, office premises and working remotely. “We will be getting our employees back to offices in the coming months. We are already starting to encourage our associates to return to their respective offices. Senior management level executives have started working from offices regularly,” a company statement said. The company says it remains committed adopting a 25×25 model that requires no more than 25% of the associates to work from an office at any given point in time, and they need not spend more than 25% of their time in the office. But an important part of the journey to the 25×25 model is to first bring people back to physical offices and gradually transition into the hybrid work model.
Harshvendra Soin, Global Chief People Officer & Head – Marketing, Tech Mahindra, said, “At Tech Mahindra, we believe in ‘wellness before business’ and employee well-being is our topmost priority. Our associates continue to have the flexibility to work from anywhere and we expect this trend of hybrid working to ramp up.
“ Having said that, with the decrease in the number of Covid-19 cases, we see that many associates at Tech Mahindra are recharting their routes back-to-office and are looking forward to meet their teams in person, he said.
Sameer Bendre, Chief People Officer, Persistent Systems said that the company has taken a stand that it will let employees choose the place of work that is most convenient for them. “We continue to maintain that stand. We are seeing a gradual increase in the WFO (work from office) headcount. This is all voluntary,” he said. Persistent Systems has encouraged mid and senior-level leaders to start coming to office at least 2 – 3 days a week. As voluntary WFO count increases, mid and senior leader’s presence in the office will encourage and make more and more employees feel comfortable to return to work. Persistent Systems has 12,000 employees in Pune.
Pavanjit Mane of the Forum of IT Professionals says many companies are conducting surveys to ascertain if employees want to come back to offices. “Some companies are giving options to employees to come back to work maybe once or twice a week. But major companies are holding ice breaking sessions and have also begun to hold meetings in offices to check how many employees actually end up physically attending such meetings,” he said.
Earlier companies had said they would allow work from home for a longer time but now with no pandemic, they are in the mood of bringing back people to offices without hurting their sentiments. Slowly and by different means, they are trying to do this, Mane said. Many employees who have moved back to their native places have been asked to return to the base location, some employees who do not wish to be named said. In smaller companies, employees have already begun to work from offices. Abhijit Atre, part of the executive council of the Software Exporters Association of Pune (SEAP) says that most companies are going hybrid, Companies have started two days a week and have asked employees to follow core hours of work from 11 am to 4 pm and are giving employees the option to choose the days they want to come to work.
In Hinjewadi Software Park, the ongoing construction work of the metro line in and around Hinjewadi has put a question mark over how soon the offices will start functioning with 100 % occupancy, given the increased commuting time. For the last two years, more than two lakh employees working in the various IT companies in the Hinjewadi software park have worked from home.