Infosys' decision is in sharp contrast to TCS’ work from home decision.
Infosys is looking at a hybrid model, where some portion of the employees will work from home (WFH) and office in the coming months, said UB Pravin Rao, COO, Infosys.
Speaking at the 39th Infosys Annual General Meeting, Rao said, “What we are looking at is a model, where some of our employees will continue to work from home and others from office.”
“But it is too early to say how many will work from office in the future,” he added.
This comes at the back of the shift IT industry witnessed due to the pandemic. Since March, IT firms enabled WFH for thousands of its employees in a matter of couple of weeks.
Frequently Asked Questions
A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.
There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine); two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.
Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.
IT industry employs about 50 lakh people and currently more than 90 percent of these employees across the companies are working from home.
In Infosys, Rao said that close to 95 percent of the employees are working from home and 5 percent from office. “We are in no hurry to bring the employees back to work,” he said.
However, given that the model is still evolving, Infosys is halting its campus expansion plans. In a response to questions about expanding to North East, Rao said that while the company has presence in Bhubaneshwar and Kolkata, there are no plans to expand right now.
But the company would take a call as situation calls for, he added. This could mean that Infosys does not completely rule out campus expansions, though it might not be at the scale it has been before.
This is in sharp contrast to TCS’ WFH measure.
As opposed to Infosys’ hybrid model, TCS is making WFH permanent. The company said that it will have 75 percent of its employees working from home by 2025 and the other 25 percent will have to work from office only 25 percent of the time.
N Chandrasekaran, chairman, TCS, in the recent AGM said that WFH shift has come at a significant cost for the company and it is not a short-term measure for the firm. TCS has significantly invested in it, he added.
But there are not many takers for TCS’ permanent WFH model and experts say that hybrid model will work better and for valid reasons.
While WFH is easier for the executives, it is not the case for majority of the Indian population. Significant number of IT workers stay with large families and smaller houses.
Kanchana Krishnan, Senior Director, JLL India, a real estate consultancy firm, said that majority of the workforce are middle-class families who might not be able to invest to create a workstation at home. All of these would make WFH difficult in a long run, she added.The ideal method would be a mix where the company offers employees the flexibility to do both, experts added.