covid impact on offices: Global Capability Centers will have majority staff work from home in next 4-6 months

MUMBAI: Global Capability Centers (GCCs) will continue to have a significant number of their workforce continue to work from home in the next 4-6 months, according to a survey by EY.

Over 60% of the GCCs surveyed believe that employees who can work remotely without any visible impact on day-to-day operations, will continue to do so for the next 4-6 months. Presently, amidst the lockdown, more than 95% of GCC employees are working from home.

Majority of the GCCs have considered a more formal remote working scenario and have initiated discussions around rationalizing their real estate footprint to accommodate this new model of working, and as a result, reduce overall costs of operations.

“With the advent of new ways of working, it requires GCCs to adopt agile working methods and to technologically enable all their employees,” said Subir Mehra, Partner, Financial Services GCCs Leader, EY India. GCCs also need to increasingly focus on digitization, intelligent automation and cyber security, he added.

As per the survey, all GCCs believe that they will not have the entire workforce resuming office at once. At least 10% of GCCs stated that they would only have critical functions operating from the office in the next 2-4 months, while over 60% of the respondents stated that a maximum of one-third of their workforce would be operating from their offices at any given point of time during the same time period.

The survey incorporates first-hand perspective of over 100 GCC leaders in India. The survey, conducted as part of the EY GCC Leadership Forum, includes interaction with GCC leaders across sectors including technology, media & entertainment, telecom, banking, insurance and financial services.

The survey also showed that cost optimization and employee well-being emerged as the top agenda for GCCs in the next 9-12 months.

“It becomes critical for the GCC leaders to plan for contingencies, understand the risks and incorporate regulatory changes into their overall strategy,” said Arindam Sen, Partner, Technology, Media & Entertainment and Telecommunications (TMT) GCCs Leader, EY India.

According to the EY survey, all the GCCs had planned various engagement initiatives to keep their employees motivated while working virtually. While some functions saw a decrease in productivity in the initial weeks, as the lockdown progressed and operations stabilized, over 60% of GCCs stated that they are now operating at the same levels of productivity as before, if not more.

Over 40% of the GCC leaders stated that they had already started preparing to telecommute from the end of February 2020. Thousands of laptops were transported to the homes of those employees, who had traditionally operated in a desktop environment; and at least 10% of the GCCs also provided additional equipment such as large monitors and printers. The GCCs that did not have a formal work from home policy instituted one and, in some cases, even included reimbursement of home internet used for work purposes.

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