Post pandemic landscape & new working trends in Indian IT/ITeS SMEs

The COVID-19 pandemic spurred the largest work-from-home experiment in the world. Once the pandemic ends, remote work would still be here to stay. The Indian government’s recent policy changes to reduce the compliance burden on IT and ITES companies further support this trend.

As alternative ways of working transform the work cultures at small and medium businesses (SMBs) in the Indian IT/ITES sector, three prominent trends emerge. Even once the pandemic ends, these trends won’t be disappearing anytime soon.

1. Remote work: The new normal

Indian IT firms have already started preparing for the new normal being here to stay longer. TCS recently announced that only 25% of its employees would work in offices by 2025, after 90% of their employees adapted to remote work within a month.

Companies like TCS were successful because of well-designed business collaboration solutions (such as the Tata Tele collaboration solutions ) that simplify remote communication and teamwork. These solutions offer virtual document management for remote collaboration, audio and web conferencing, webcasting for larger audiences, and international bridging service for cross-border communication.

A primary concern with remote work is minimising cyber threats. Getting cloud security solutions, such as those offered by Tata Tele Business Services, is crucial to prevent such attacks. These include endpoint security for all devices in use, multifactor authentication for all data points, virtual firewalls, web browsing, and email security.

For other businesses, remote work meant investing in smart workspaces, virtual desktop infrastructure, and more such facilities to make work-from-home as convenient as possible. Delhi-based chat messaging platform Hike delivered ergonomic chairs and workstations to its employees. The company also offered to pay up to INR 40,000 per employee to buy tech accessories.

2. Rise of a location-agnostic workforce

As remote work becomes mainstream, location isn’t a deciding factor in hiring employees anymore. For SMBs, this means access to a larger talent pool across the country or even the world.

All that matters is the right skill sets, excellent Internet connectivity, and the infrastructure required to work from home with minimal interruptions. Connectivity solutions like those offered by Tata Tele are critical in enhancing the remote experience.

As part of its offering, Tata Tele provides high-speed business broadband, smart VPN to secure the internet connectivity across geographies, L2 multicast for safe transmission of high-quality video content, and SmartOffice® for end-to-end business connectivity. For businesses requiring telephonic connections, Tata Tele also provides toll-free services, international bridging service, and leased lines, among others.

3. Focus on employee wellbeing

According to Microsoft’s Work Trend Index, over 40% of workers surveyed from India suffer from a great deal of stress as the lines between their professional and personal lives blur. At 29%, India has the second-highest percentage of workers facing increased levels of burnout.

As a result, Indian firms have started prioritizing their employees’ wellbeing by introducing measures designed to improve their quality of life.

Deutsche Telekom Digital Labs, a Gurgaon-based digital product manufacturer, allows its employees to take an extra day off to cope with work-from-home fatigue. Sony Pictures has introduced “zero hours” — times when employees aren’t expected to respond to calls, emails, or messages — during the workweek.

A last word

Remote work comes with its share of challenges. While there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to make remote work effective, it’s achievable with the right strategy and resources.

SMBs should invest in leaders who take charge of an increasingly virtual workforce by building trust and leading with empathy. Remote work policies should support these leaders in establishing a work culture promoting productivity and efficiency.

Lastly, remote workplaces must invest in the best collaboration, connectivity, and security solutions to equip their employees for the new normal.

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