IT companies – like Infosys, Tech Mahindra, and others – are expected to let employees continue work from home (WFH) for the next few weeks as many states have decided to impose full lockdown till May 3 without any relaxations.
Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, and Karnataka have already said that companies will have to keep premises closed during the lockdown. The Telangana government has extended the lockdown in the state till May 7.
“We plan to come back gradually, we are not in a hurry to come back aggressively. In phase one, less than 5 percent will come back to work for 3-4 weeks. Over the next 4-8 weeks, maybe 15-20 percent will come back gradually. We will maintain very high standards of safety, temperature check, social distancing,” Infosys COO Pravin Rao said.
Harshvendra Soin, chief people officer at Tech Mahindra, said the company is closely monitoring the situation at its end and working as per the government’s order and advisories.
“With the rapid outbreak of COVID-19, the lockdown has not yet been relaxed and hence the majority of our associates are still working from home. We are working in parallel with our backend IT and security teams for a smooth transition.”
“We also have a robust business continuity plan – powered by next-generation technologies – in place to combat the situation and to ensure continuity of essential services and business as usual,” Soin said.
Industry body Nasscom had also advised members to adopt a staggered approach and start with a 15-20 percent workforce in the first phase, and subsequently scale it up depending on the situation on the ground.
“The home ministry guidelines had allowed IT-ITeS companies to operate with up to 50 percent strength from April 20 and we had suggested member companies to take a staggered approach and start with 15-20 percent workforce in phase I, and then increase it depending on the on-ground situation,” Nasscom Senior Vice-President and Chief Strategy Officer Sangeeta Gupta told PTI.
IT companies are just settling into the work from the home mechanism, and they have taken requisite permissions from clients for this, Gupta added. “So, I do not think they will be in a hurry to get employees back to offices and risk their health,” Gupta said.
About 90 percent of IT employees and 70-80 percent of BPO and small and medium businesses in the sector are estimated to be working from home to ensure business continuity.
An industry executive, who did not wish to be named, said many areas in cities like Noida, Bengaluru, and Pune — that are hubs for IT-BPO companies — fall in red zones and companies are being cautious towards the safety of the employees. The executive added that companies will continue this practice of allowing WFH for employees for the next quarter or so.
(With inputs from business today)