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What ramifications are IT firms contemplating towards the unlock phase of Covid

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With the phase wise easing of restrictions imposed in the lockdown period, IT companies are striving to comply with the central and state government regulatory advisories and notifications and maximise adoption in the ‘new normal’. Pegasystems India is gearing up to strategise their new approach towards getting the ball rolling in Unlock 1.0.  Suman Reddy, Managing Director, Pegasystems India elucidates more on the same. Edited excerpts.

When do you see Pega employees coming back to work?

It is still a bit early to speak about this considering the volatile conditions around us. We are keenly following the global and industry positioning on the matter and would make a call on the resumption of work from office accordingly. However, having said that, we are in no hurry to bring all our employees back at once. It will be a phased process and we plan to ramp up with 10 per cent of our workforce back to the premises once normalcy returns.

What are the strategies you are looking at for getting the workforce back?

Considering the situation, only a small part of our workforce with an absolute need for facilities like better connectivity and office infrastructure will be making their way back. Employee safety is of paramount importance for us and our decision making will be centred around it and the business requirements that might ensue.  However, I do not see the situation improving anytime soon and there might be a risk of relapse as we have seen in some countries, if we do not treat the situation with the seriousness it deserves. We were one of the first few organisations to adopt the work from home in mid-March and would be equally mindful before making any decision on returning.

How do you think phased entry will impact employee safety and social distancing norms?

With social distancing being the need of the hour, we need to evaluate multiple factors such as transportation, cafeteria services, parking facilities, reception management, queue management and lift lobbies. A well laid out plan to ensure smooth passage in common areas such cafeterias, lounges and receptions without breaking distancing protocols must be put in place. We are going to fully allow our complete workforce only when a long term solution to counter the pandemic is at hand. Also, a phased return to the workspace would be considered only if it is extremely critical.

What are the key challenges that need to be addressed prior to resumption of offices?

While we are still defining the new normal, there would be multiple challenges that will come to the forefront and we must be nimble enough to cope with all. The first thing is transportation, it would be safest for employees to use their own conveyance, and we have to plan parking accordingly to accommodate the vehicles. We would have to plan how many employees to be allowed in the lift at the same time and they would all have to be provided masks at the time of entry itself. Workstations too will have to be planned, keeping the social distancing norms in mind. These will really be some of the initial challenges that companies will face.

Do you think this will impact productivity in anyway?

We are fortunate to have dedicated teams and have not really seen any change in the productivity levels. We are seeing enhanced productivity levels right now and now as the lockdown ends, employees who feel they can do a better job in the office environment and have own transport are advised to work from office. Also, we are ensuring the employees get the IT infrastructure, for example many of them needed monitors (large screens), so we helped them set up the same and sent IT teams for help. To ensure the mental wellbeing of our employees, Pega has provided a year-long subscription of Headspace- a meditation and mental well-being app for a year. The app with multiple resources on meditation and destressing has received great response from the employees.

Do you plan to make WFH the new normal?

The transition towards remote working or work-from-home has been quite smooth for us, although initial glitches were faced by the company on connectivity, providing laptops and personal computers to work on. However, the infrastructure challenges of remote working have been ironed out over a month. We are going to learn a lot in the next 12 months and will make a policy that is going to be conducive to provide to be a great place to work.


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