Wipro Executive Chairman Azim Premji. Photo: AFP

Wipro founder Azim Premji has lauded the hybrid model of work adopted by technology companies in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. He pointed out that more than 90% of employees of technology companies continue to work from home.

While addressing a session hosted by Bangalore Chamber of Industry and Commerce, Premji said the Indian information technology industry and the government recognize the value of a permanent hybrid model where people would work partly from office and home even after the end of the pandemic.

Premji said the hybrid model will lead to inclusive growth and better participation from all parts of the country, adding that women will have the flexibility to work from home. He said the availability of digital infrastructure in smaller cities have helped many businesses thrive.

Rules relaxed

Last year the Indian government had simplified its guidelines for business process outsourcing and IT-enabled services players to facilitate “work from home” and “work from anywhere” policies. It had also reduced the compliance burden for companies by removing several reporting and other obligations from them.

Many software companies have already made elaborate plans to allow employees to work from home even after the lockdown. India’s largest software exporter, Tata Consultancy Services, has said that by 2025, only one-fourth of its total workforce will be required to come to the office. The company employs nearly 450,000 people and is also the largest private sector employer.

India’s banking sector, which in the pre-Covid period had sparingly experimented with remote work, is now implementing it in a big way. The country’s largest lender, State Bank of India, had implemented a “work from anywhere” policy last year and is keen to retain it as a long-term measure.

Leading privately-held banks such as HDFC Bank and Axis Bank have also implemented such measures. They see this move as away to cut costs, give employees more choices and help attract a varied talent pool.

WFH blues

However, working from home is not free from pitfalls. Employees complain it has led to a sense of monotony and weariness as they have to deal with cramped surroundings at home and patchy internet, while employers are grappling with low productivity issues.

Some companies are collaborating with co-working space providers to provide their staff with a “work near home” option, which offers better internet connectivity and a more ergonomic workspace. Co-working firms like WeWork and myHQ have tweaked their rental norms and made it easier for employers to provide office space to their staff.