On a sunny Monday afternoon in early Feb 2020, my boss and I were having a casual chat on ‘work-life balance’ and we instantly decided that it was time for a ‘break”. We quickly nailed-down on Goa as the best place to go on a quick vacation and enjoy the sandy beaches.
As we were getting nearer to the travel day, the news about corona virus was circulating. We just ignored and started planning for the trip. But just two days before the travel, my boss called me and said that we need to cancel our trip due to the virus prevalent. I thought he was too paranoid as at that time there was not even one positive case in India.
By mid-March, the global scene had changed drastically with the Covid-19 epidemic hitting hard and there was lot of confusion and chaos everywhere. The foresightedness of our CEO needs special mention as even before most companies were trying to understand the situation, we were already implementing strict “social distancing” and “personal hygiene” regimes in our office.
Indian IT Industry traditionally never believed in Telecommuting (aka Remote working or work from home), and we were no different. Arguably so, because we are a “bottom heavy” pyramid with close to 80% of our resources less than 5 years experienced. Our senior and mid managers have always been skeptical of their teams working remotely as they want to see them together and working in front of them. The fear of lack of control or losing control is still an issue and IT companies in India continue to hold this stigma.
But by end of March, the Covid-19 situation was worsening, and lockdown was imposed by the Government. In less than 48 hours, our teams switched to work from home by moving desktops/laptops to their homes, sorting out connectivity and infrastructure issues and it was ‘business as usual”. The speed at which we transitioned to a new way of working from home and team collaboration without physical presence in office, surprised even our CEO and senior management.
We quickly put some procedural protocols in place for remote working, educated our resources on the do’s and don’ts and just prayed that this model is productive enough for our business continuity. By end of April, our teams had adapted so well to the “new normal” that the top management sees the possibility, of allowing up to 50% of staff to work remotely which would reduce up to 20% on costs like facility charges including real estate, maintenance of office space and other infrastructure related overheads.
However, we need to be cautious in our approach and weigh-down the advantages and disadvantages of telecommuting. A young IT workforce in India still needs lot of mentoring, learning and sharing for their career growths. Only time will tell how the Indian IT companies would accept the ‘new normal’ and if this becomes an integral part of our operating models.
Having said that, post Covid19 era will be new for all those that believed “only the paranoids survive”.
And as for our Goa plans, the beaches have to wait for now…
Posted By: Dinesh Madireddy, SVP – Global Delivery, Osmosee