Companies that had opened their doors for employees to voluntarily commute to and from offices from September-October last year are now asking them to switch back to WFH mode. Human resources representatives say all eyes are on state guidelines and restrictions around the current wave. With government departments announcing 50% attendance for their personnel, the private sector is also shelving plans to bring employees back to the office. TOI spoke to various companies – including big employers like Cognizant, Amazon, Flipkart and new age startups like Razorpay. Employees have been asked to re-adopt WFH. They plan to re-evaluate the situation and decide on a working model. Senior executives and team leads in large IT services firms, who volunteered to work from office, are back in their home offices. Most IT firms had decided to lay off around 70% of their workforce from January, and those plans are now uncertain.
Cognizant said it aims to return to office in April, given the Omicron version and the uncertain path of global outbreaks. “Till then, travel and office-based work will remain restricted. The health and safety of our employees and contractors, their families, our customers and our communities is our top priority,” a company statement said.
“Flipkart has been flexible in its approach and has created a hybrid model for all our corporate employees, combining campus and remote work options from December 2021. In view of the increasing cases, we have advised our employees not to come to the office. Next two weeks,” said a Flipkart spokesperson. An Amazon India spokesperson said that most of the company’s employees are currently working from home. Amazon said they are monitoring the situation closely and will consider the health and safety of employees in making any decisions.
Most of the Global Captive Centers (GCCs) had drawn up global plans to welcome teams back to office in India on a roster manner from the current month. But they have now told employees that such plans will remain canceled until further notice and WFH will continue, industry sources said.
US firm BNY Mellon, which has presence in Mumbai, Chennai and Pune, said in a statement that they are considering guidance from the medical community and will provide employees with at least 30 days’ notice on the date of final withdrawal. The company was previously allowing vaccinated employees who wish to work from the office to do so, subject to local regulations. Most startups and new age digital companies were largely remote and with some employees coming together in offices for better morale, they are back in WFH mode.
Fintech major Razorpay has been practicing a hybrid model as offices in Bangalore, Mumbai and Gurgaon reopened in 2021 with some employees leaving on their own. “But when we see a rise in the cases of COVID, we close our offices in the interest of safety of the employees. In view of the current situation, we are doing all work from home. We will continue to monitor the situation and take a call on reopening the office after January 15,” said a spokesperson for Razorpay.