According to Tata Sons Pvt Chairman Natarajan Chandrasekaran, the pandemic has transformed the nature of work by accelerating digital technology by at least a decade and ushering in a hybrid model paradigm where work extends beyond offices and engages more women.
Mr Chandrasekaran, the chairman of India’s largest private-sector employer, said during the Qatar Economic Forum that while the office will remain a crucial hub and people will eventually return, the world will not revert to its pre-Covid norm. With technology, the Indian CEO, accompanied by fellow companies such as Iwg Plc Chief Executive Officer Mark Dixon, believes that businesses will benefit from offering employees more flexibility.
The 150-year-old steel-to-airlines business rushed to adjust to lockdown limitations when the pandemic struck India in early 2020. Within weeks, nearly half a million employees at Tata Consultancy Services Ltd., the company’s largest by employee numbers and profitability, began working from home, delivering software projects and support to Wall Street banks, merchants, and airlines.
By 2025, Tata Consultancy expects only a fourth of its workers to be present in the workplace on any given day. Despite this, many of the company’s employees requested a return to work. Mr Chandrasekaran said during a session that companies will have to adopt a model that falls somewhere in the middle.
“Let’s not think of the hybrid model as just workplace and home if it’s going to work,” he remarked. “There will be an idea of a third place,” says the author. It’s what I call a ‘third place,’ but you could call it a satellite office.”
In India’s instance, better workplace diversity could be another benefit of a hybrid model, according to Mr Chandrasekaran.
“Only 23% of women who could theoretically work are in the workforce,” he said, citing obstacles such as commuting and a lack of social infrastructure such as child care. “This is a chance we should not pass up; it is not only excellent for GDP and growth, but it is also the right thing to do.”