India’s top software services exporters are taking a “cautious approach” to their previously announced ‘back to office’ plans slated for January 2022, senior executives told ET, as fast-spreading Covid-19 variant Omicron presents a fresh challenge to economic recovery worldwide.
- Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), the country’s largest IT services firm, said less than 10% of its associates are working from its offices currently, while any plans for a full-fledged return to office will be a “calibrated move”.
- In Bengaluru, Infosys said it has “taken a cautious approach” keeping in mind the “changing health situation”.
- HCL Technologies said it “will continue to monitor the emergence and impact of Covid-19 variants which could limit the movement of employees”. The Noida-headquartered company said a tenth of its employees are working from the office at present, and it expects to continue with the “current hybrid model”.
The cautionary note contrasts sharply with the announcements made by the IT giants during the second quarter results, in October. At that time, most IT companies had stated that they would gradually initiate back-to-work plans by the end December or in January 2022 , while also planning for a long-term model of hybrid work.
In November, industry body Nasscom estimated that half of India’s 4.5-million technology workforce would return to office thrice a week from the new year. However, the rapid spread of Omicron has changed the on-ground situation quickly, executives said.
“Right now, physical attendance is on a voluntary basis, and we have encouraged managers to take the lead. We have not forced anybody to attend daily or to relocate,” said Richard Lobo, executive vice president and head-human resources at Infosys. He said the company has taken a cautious approach due to the changing health situation.