Information technology (IT) services company, Infosys, has started enabling five per cent of its employees to return to work, wherever the local conditions are suitable. This is in keeping with the order released by the Ministry of Home Affairs stating that private offices can operate with up to 33 per cent strength as per requirement, with the remaining working from home.
Speaking exclusively to HRKatha, Richard Lobo, executive VP-HR, Infosys, says, “We will probably scale this to about 10-15 per cent for the next month and then decide, based on the situation. Our focus is on further improving our tools of collaboration, access, security protocols and employee engagement so that both remote and office working can happen seamlessly.”
Now that the Company has repopulated its buildings, it has laid down a strategic plan for smooth functioning post lifting of lockdown. This plan of action was made, keeping in mind the health and safety of the employees in the long run.
“We have worked on a framework that will considerably reduce risk to employees. This includes a protocol that has a hierarchy of controls – personal protection, perimeter checks, de-densifying of workspaces, healthy buildings and remote-work options,” elucidates Lobo.
In order to provide a safe work environment to the 240,000+ employees and partners worldwide, the IT firm has demarcated the campuses into several zones, to restrict employee movement. Also, all the recreation facilities at the campuses will still remain closed until it’s time. No outsiders will be allowed to enter the campuses.
We continue to evolve our response to take into account changes that come into play as countries respond to the situation
The IT company has also redesigned the workplaces and made considerable changes for employees to feel more at home.
Social distancing being the first priority, seats were demarcated in the working areas where employees will now be seated in alternate cubicles. Conference rooms and training rooms will remain closed and employees will continue to collaborate virtually.
Availability of thermal scanners, masks, hygiene products, medicines, and medical facilities at the offices along with a 24/7 medical centre was also made operational for the employees.
With the nation facing a never-before kind of challenge, the IT company has enabled 93 per cent of its workforce to work remotely, leveraging collaboration technologies for a seamless remote-working experience.
Lobo states, “For the immediate future, we will continue to maintain this remote-working model with the exception of a few roles that require a high level of network bandwidth access or are in environments that need extra security protocols.”
Soon after the lockdown was announced, and remote working became the ‘new normal’, the IT company had undertaken several employee-engagement initiatives to meet the challenges imposed by the situation.
To begin with, the Company had ensured deployment of physical devices, such as laptops and other tools. “In order to support a robust and secure remote collaboration, we have initiated extensive communication across the organisation, with advice for teams to make regular online/phone calls and facilitate virtual breaks’ to enhance the sense of camaraderie”, the HR-head, Infosys, states.
Talking about the challenges in continuing the business during telecommuting, Lobo explains, “It took a few days for the workforce to adjust to this, but now they are used to the new normal. Steps were taken to mitigate challenges of connectivity and power, by providing Wi-Fi dongles and UPSs to the employees who were facing issues in connectivity. To handle the high percentage of people working from home, we upgraded our networks.”
Currently, the Company is focused on empowering its employees to reskill and refactor, to be equipped for this new normal. Continuous learning has been at the heart of all activities, and the Company is invested in building the digital-learning platform and nurturing the learning ecosystem.
“We continue to evolve our response to take into account changes that come into play as countries respond to the situation”, Lobo concludes.