Hyderabad: As 2021 draws to a close with the threat of a third wave of Covid-19 looming in the new year, IT companies’ plans for a partial return to power by the middle 2022 could be delayed and the year is expected to see a hybrid model, a mix of working from home and working in the office.
At a time when parts of the country are seeing a spike in Covid cases and a new variant of Omicron spreading rapidly, IT / ITES companies at this key technology hub are in standby and sleep mode.
According to Hyderabad Software Enterprises Association (HYSEA), the umbrella organization for IT / ITES companies in Hyderabad, business strategy could change as the situation evolves.
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âThe industry is on hold at this point as the impact of the Omicron variant is not yet fully understood and becomes more predictable,â said HYESA President Bharani K. Aroll. IANS.
With experts not ruling out new variants in the days to come, IT companies are keeping their fingers crossed.
âIt has become evident that Covid is not going away anytime soon and such variants could continue to mutate as we move forward into 2022. Therefore, vaccination and adherence to government issued Covid protocols are very important to prevent and control the spread, âAroll said.
IT companies have not changed their initial plans for the return-to-office strategy so far, he said. “However, plans could change as the situation with the new variant evolves. The prediction is to see at least 40% on average return to power by April 2022, if the situation does not worsen,” he said. he added.
Industry watchers say many companies are likely to follow the hybrid model, a mix of work from home (WFH) and work from home (WFO) in 2022. Employees may be asked to work three days in the office and two days at home. home and each company can offer its own model according to its working days and needs.
Before the recent increase in the number of cases and the emergence of Omicron, five percent of employees in large companies worked in the office. In small and medium-sized enterprises, about 30 and 70 percent, respectively, of employees worked in the office.
An overwhelming majority of over 6 lakh of IT staff in Hyderabad have been working from home since March 2020, when the pandemic first broke.
Based on a survey conducted by HYSEA in August 2021, it was estimated that by the end of March 2022, 79% of companies will have between 30% and 90% of WFO employees. This translates to a minimum of 2 lakh and a maximum of 5 lakh of employees returning to offices by March 2022.
Murali Bollu, CEO of ZenQ, a software testing company, pointed out that before the emergence of the Omicron variant, IT companies planned to ask employees to return to work after the Sankranthi festival in a phased manner. Due to Omicron concerns, these plans are on hold until March 2022.
âSince Covid, more IT work is being outsourced to India – partly due to an increase in the momentum of companies embracing digital transformation across industries globally, and partly due to the large resignation phenomenon. This has resulted in increased demand for skilled resources in India from all IT companies including startups, IT majors, multinationals and GCCs, and has resulted in higher wages and increased attrition. Having become accustomed to the comfort and flexibility of working from home, existing and new employees are demanding more flexibility of working from home than there was before Covid, âMurali said.
âGoing forward, more than concerns about the virus, higher attrition and hiring worries will play a bigger role in companies’ decision to ‘work from home’. Most IT companies are preparing to operate in a hybrid model to accommodate changing mindset and aspirations to attract and retain employees, âhe added.
After the end of the second wave, the IT department of Telangana in July asked the management of companies to reopen their offices, because the livelihood of hundreds of thousands of people like taxi drivers and food vendors depends on the market. sector.
The health ministry also urged management of IT companies in September to return to work from the office. However, this did not yield the desired result, as the majority of large employers raised concerns that the reopening of offices could lead to a third wave.
Satyanrayana Mathala, chairman of the Telangana Facilities Management Council (TFMC), believes that 2022 is a way forward to open offices following the Covid protocol.
TFMC, the umbrella body for installation professionals who manage the premises of IT workplaces, works to raise awareness among IT / ITES companies on compulsory vaccination procedures.
âCurrently most offices are operating at 20-30% capacity and are all fully immunized with both doses. In the coming months, many companies are making a long-term plan to get the booster vaccination program as part of the back-to-office initiative. Many companies will follow the hybrid model for the year 2022. Based on the local spread of the virus and government standards, companies will continue to change working models, âSatyanarayana said.
He believes that a booster dose will help businesses get about half of their employees back to the office. âThe nine month duration from the day of the last dose taken will be updated for all employees. Many companies are using the AI ââapp to track the vaccination schedule and regularly educate employees, which will help us complete their third dose program, which will help all companies welcome back office workers with 40 at 50 percent. staff, âSatynarayana explained.
âIn my opinion, working from home is here to stay in what I call the Co-Covid world. Variants like Delta, Omicron and what is already emerging Demicron now. The scope may vary, but most organizations, especially the IT department, will find their own version of the WFH. Variants can be there for any number of days, locations, and engagement models. It’s not just the WFH, but the world is heading for âEverything Homeâ. More and more innovations will go in this direction as we look to 2022 and beyond, âsaid Viiveck Verma, Founder of Upsurge Global and President of the Society for Advancement of Human Endeavor (SAHE)
According to the HYSEA survey, 70 percent of companies believe the hybrid will be the future working model. Up to 37% of companies prefer the hybrid model (WFH + WFO) based on rotation, while 33% prefer the hybrid model with a partial week of WFH and a partial week of WFO.