New Delhi: Multiple global information technology companies want to start ramping up India office operations between January and June, with at least 50% of personnel back at their workstations by mid-2022 for a few days in the week to start with, if the third Covid-19 wave stays under control, The Economic Times reported.
The financial daily citing real estate heads and facilities management agencies working for IT companies mentioned in a report that they are planning to scale up operations starting next year, while keeping a close eye on the Omicron variant’s spread. Employees under 45 years are being asked to return to work under a hybrid model that involves attending office on two-three days a week, they said.
Worth mentioning here is that IT companies’ plans to return to work had been thrown off course by the second wave and then the Omicron threat, forcing companies to extend work-from-home (WFH) policies until December. Some IT firms had aimed to step up office attendance in June-July this year, but were stymied by the second wave. Work from home makes it hard to instill a company’s ethos, especially as hiring has spiked in IT.
“Culturally, there was a misalignment and employees will have to return to the office from next year onwards,” the publication quoted Nitish Murthy, global head of facilities management group Brillio as saying. “We have almost doubled our headcount globally during the pandemic and require more space to expand now.”
Leading developers that provide office space to tech MNCs say that global firms and their clients are more confident about keeping the office open amid a pandemic and have adapted to new norms along with changes in the workplace to allow Covid-appropriate practices.
The Confederation of Real Estate Developers’ Associations of India (Credai) lobby group has stated that there’s been no significant impact on the property market due to Omicron and growth momentum in post-festival sales is expected to continue. It doesn’t see any disruption in the pace of construction and delivery schedules unless there is a significant rise in infections in the months to come, the business daily mentioned.
“Developers have learnt from the previous two waves of the pandemic and are fully prepared to manage any disruption pertaining to supply chain and labour supply to a large extent,” said Credai president Harsh Vardhan Patodia.
The grouping has urged the government to exempt real estate and construction from any future lockdowns or curfews as any stoppages will hit economic recovery.
According to a study done by IT industry body Nasscom, more than 50% of India’s technology workforce is likely to return to the office three times a week from January.
“The IT sector is now well prepared to gradually reopen and will adopt a hybrid operating model, which brings in the best of office and remote operating models,” the ET report quoted Shridhar Raghavendra, head of corporate real estate and facilities at LogMeIn.
The pandemic has meant that most IT employees have been working from home for over18 months. Workers too are keen on returning to office, at least for a few days in the week, according to the Nasscom report. Nearly 60% of organisations are expected to be ready to reopen office spaces by January.
“There is a talent war going on in the industry. Our order books are full and it is important to retain employees by giving them flexibility and reopening offices again,” real estate head of a US-based technology firm told ET.