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Last Updated : May 24, 2020 01:07 PM IST | Source: Moneycontrol.com

Coronavirus impact: Soon, IT firms will probably dial in for resources thanks to WFH

The sector employs around 50 lakh people, with 11 lakh in the business process outsourcing space.

 
 
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In the coming months, you will look for a network engineer in an app to troubleshoot network issues rather than an IT helpdesk. Maybe the IT companies will dial into the freelancer pool to find resources rather than choosing permanent employees.

This is probably how the talent landscape would change for IT firms as work from home becomes a new normal on the back of COVID-19. According to experts, the gig economy for tech workers is not far off as remote work gains acceptance.

Explaining this scenario, Aditya Narayan Mishra, Director and CEO, CIEL HR Services, a staffing firm, said, “Let us take network engineers who troubleshoot network services.”

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Given the large scale at which techies are now working from home, they are one of the most in-demand services.

Currently, employees call their office, who in turn, transport the system to the office troubleshoot and then transport it back. It is a huge expense and effort for the company as they have to transport desktops back and forth.

“So what you will see going forward is network engineers on contract,” Mishra said. “What the companies would do is they might ask the employees to get the work done and then request for reimbursement,” he added.

This is all thanks to the coronavirus outbreak that has work from home the "new normal". Since the virus outbreak intensified in March followed by lockdown, IT firms have been forced to facilitate work from home for close to 80-90 percent of its workforce including the business process outsourcing firms.

The sector employs around 50 lakh people, with 11 lakh in the business process outsourcing space.

Most firms including, TCS and Wipro, in their recent media interactions have said there are plans to make this more or less permanent subject to government approval and client permissions. TCS went as far as saying, they would only need 25 percent of the professionals working out of the office and not more than 25 percent of the time.

Most of them have agreed that in the next few months they see only 50 percent of the workforce in the office till the time vaccine is in the market.

If that is the case, Keshav R Murugesh, global CEO, WNS Global Services, said the work from home model will enable a gig economy for IT workers.

How will it create a gig economy?

For one, there is more acceptance for remote working among employers and enterprise customers, which were absent earlier. Though the permissions are subject to change, if firms resume office operations, clients would now be more inclined to extend permissions.

From the point of view of IT firms, collaboration was a major challenge. For instance, it would be difficult to deliver a project with a team distributed across the country. That is why teams are by design in the same locations with few members working in other regions.

But work from home has forced the IT firms to take care of that problem by investing in collaboration tools. "Basically, work from home has helped us learn how to collaborate remotely and how to deliver a product with people distributed," said R Srikrishna, CEO, Hexaware Technologies.

According to Srikrishna, this is what would enable the creation of a gig economy for IT workers. A hiring consultant pointed out that this would push qualified professionals, who want more flexibility, to be independently creating a network of professionals.

What else would change?

What else would change is the way hiring currently happens. With more people working remotely, overseas firms will be more open to looking for employees beyond their geography. There is a huge shortage of talented techies across the world including the US. While Indians do travel overseas in pursuit of work, it is not accessible to the majority of the population.

This remote working could change that. Pallav Nadhani, who recently exited FushionCharts, a data visualisation company he founded, said that this situation would benefit India immensely given the Indian tech talent landscape.
First Published on May 24, 2020 01:02 pm
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