75% TCS Employees Can Permanently Work From Home After Corona Outbreak Ends: What Is 2025 Vision Of TCS?
The COVID-19 pandemic and the resultant lockdown has caused the employees to Work From Home (WFH). Can this become a working trend in the post-pandemic world?
The COVID-19 crisis had led India’s largest IT service firm, Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) to discard its 20-year-old operating model and leapfrog into a new mode of work.
Read to find out more…
TCS Adopting A New Remotely Operating Model!
Till now the employees at TCS was just 20% however running up to 2025, TCS will ask a vast majority of 75% of its 3.5 lakh employees to work from home.
The decision comes after TCS briskly moved 90% of its 3,55,000 employees post-lockdown to an operating model named Secure Borderless Work Spaces (SBWS).
The new model called 25/25 will require far less office space than occupied today. TCS’s Chief Operating Officer NG Subramaniam said, “We don’t believe that we need more than 25% of our workforce at our facilities in order to be 100% productive.”
Subramaniam pointed out that each employee should spend only 25% of working time in office. He says that this will also imply that of all the team members, only 75% of a project team may be in a single location and the rest will be dispersed across geographies.
More About the New Model!
In a letter to employees TCS CEO and MD Rajesh Gopinathan wrote SBWS had seen 35,000 meetings, 406000 calls, and 340 lakh messages across TCS on the digital collaboration platform. TCS has invested in creating SBWS over the past few years. He says, “We have come out stronger and our model is more proven than ever before.”
In addition he said, “From a highly centralised model consisting of work spaces set in large delivery campuses capable of accommodating thousands of employees, we had to switch to an extreme form of distributed delivery in a matter of days.”
Gopinathan says it is much more than moving the person out from the office and giving access to the laptop and desktop in the house to connect. “It is about taking the entire element of the operating model and being able to deploy that into this kind of an extended environment we call SBWS.” He says the firm has rejigged its cyber security posture, project management practices and systems to ensure proper work allocation, work monitoring and reporting to ensure quality and security of the projects was not compromised.
Gopinath clearing the air about going back to the current working model said, “We’re not going to go back to where we were.”
Will Other Companies Follow Suit?
Experts say before the lockdown no more than 15-20% of employees ever worked from home among the Indian services firms. While IT services companies in India have the best HR practices in line with clients of the developed work, flexibility isn’t one of them. The companies never offered work from home options to employees citing security requirements of customer projects (especially in sectors like defense, public sector, BFSI), with only exceptions of personal situations.
Multinational Corporations and IT firms such as IBM, Cisco, Microsoft do provide work flexibility options for employees.
Experts said with TCS taking the lead, other Indian IT companies will have no option but to follow TCS’s footsteps as the lessons learned from lockdown spark a more rapid and widespread ‘virtualisation’ of business practices. This would cause major changes in the entire operating model of IT firms.
Ravi Gajendran, a business professor at Florida International University who focuses on telecommuting says that this move makes a lot of sense in India especially in metros with its long commutes and traffic. He says after TCS, incumbents like Infosys and Wipro are likely to follow to ensure competitive advantage in human capital.
Ashutosh Limaye, Senior Director and Head, Strategic Advisory & Valuations, Anarock Consulting says that while working from home is great in terms of its work life benefits, Indian workforce might not have the tools and the space to make it productive in the long run.
Apart from the top leadership, houses of entry level colleagues or middle managers might not have separate study rooms. They would have to carve out spaces from the existing rooms. Such adjustments may or may not work in the long run. There might be network issues too. While IT infrastructure has improved but there is a need to augment it, he explained
How Will Working Remotely Help the Companies?
With fewer employees working in the office, less need for office space?
For firms the cost benefit will be huge but may not be directly proportional, says Limaye.
The decreased percentage of workforce will not be equally proportionate to the decrease in the need of office space. 25% less employees in office may reduce the need for office space by 15%. The shared spaces in terms of common areas or facilities like conference rooms, cafeterias might not reduce as much.
COO of TCS, Subramaniam when inquired about productivity gains said, “We believe that we will be in a position to achieve about 25% improvement in velocity throughput productivity.” Currently, all customers’ services projects are on track and none got hampered due to the sudden change in operating model, he says.
CEO and MD of TCS, Gopinath says it is not just about productivity and work life balance for employees but decentralising work also has several organisational benefits.
He said, “It helps organisations become more resilient, because the fully distributed nature of this model is inherently less risky and better suited for business continuity and agility.”