Considering 50 lakh employees are in the IT sector, enabling them to WFH becomes important.
Even as the government has advised work from home (WFH) across sectors to control the spread of the novel coronavirus, IT firms are struggling to implement it.
According to a report by ET, only 40 percent of TCS employees can work from home, while the rest will have to work from office. This is worrying given that the sector employs close to 50 lakh people.
TCS has said that the company has rolled out Secure Borderless Workspace, that enables employees to work from home without impacting mission critical client deliveries. The number of employees who can work from home will further increase, the company said in a statement.
Cognizant and Wipro did not respond to emails sent.
Close to half a dozen employees that Moneycontrol spoke to said that the IT companies are allocating WFH in phases – first for projects where WFH is possible and then for projects where client intervention is required to ensure business continuity.
This comes in view of rising number of reported COVID-19 cases in the country. After two people tested positive for coronavirus in India on March 2, the cases have now climbed to over 500 with the death toll rising to 10.
In a bid to control the spread of the virus, governments are taking steps from cancelling passenger trains to locking down its borders. On March 24, Prime Minister Narendra Modi ordered for a lock down for 21 days starting midnight March 24. This means that all employees will have to WFH, except those in mission critical projects.
Most States including Maharashtra, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu have shut down the State and district borders since 6 pm March 24. This changed the IT firm's stance on WFH significantly.
Till March 21, firms were still struggling to offer WFH options. An IT executive pointed out that while some of the clients have given a go-ahead, it is taking time for others to implement. So many of the employees working in IT firms are yet to get intimation on whether they will be working from home till March 22.
A TCS employee in Pune said that so far he has not gotten any official confirmation on the same. “For now, the company is still working on getting required access. So we are all still waiting on any confirmation on how the work will go on Monday,” the employee added.
However starting March 24, most employees have been asked to WFH except critical projects.
The TCS Pune employee added that most of the employees are working from home starting March 24 irrespective of if they have the system or not. "I am using office desktop for now. For others who don't have systems, process is on for remote working as there are still some issues pertaining to client approval and resourcing," the employee added.
In some of the banking projects, where security is a primary concern, the company has already obtained permission from its clients to let employees work from home. “We did a try run previously and we started working from home till April 14,” said another TCS employee from Bengaluru.
However, clients have insisted on employees working from office desktops rather than their personal laptops. “So we might have to get our office PCs installed and work from there,” added the Bengaluru techie.
A Cognizant employee said there have been discussions about letting employees WFH. By March 24, most were asked to WFH or others were asked to take time off till they are able to get approvals and systems for them to work.
In mission critical aspects such as handling networks, companies have made arrangements for one employee work from office. For instance networks, which is key as the team needs to sort out any issues related to connectivity. "So one of us have to be in office since it is mission critical. We will be taking turns to work out of office," the employee added.
In case of Infosys, a source said that employees who are able to WFH have been asked to do so wherever possible.(The story, first published on March 22, is edited to reflect the recent changes at the back of lock down to control coronavirus spread)