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Situation vacant -- at a couch near you

Last updated on: June 11, 2012 10:54 IST

Situation vacant -- at a couch near you

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Bibhu Ranjan Mishra in Bengaluru

For the first time, an Indian IT and BPO services company is institutionalising the concept of allowing employees to work from home. Zensar, the RPG Group firm headquartered in Pune, has said it wants to have 30 per cent of its employees working from home, locally and in towns and cities near its centres.

The move will be implemented in three-four years.

Ganesh Natarajan, vice-chairman and CEO of Zensar Technologies, says the move would restrict investment in huge capacity creation in terms of providing for physical infrastructure and connectivity.

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Photographs: Mark Blinch/Reuters

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It will provide the company access to good talent that may not be willing to relocate to other cities, he says.

"Basically, we will have three hubs in Pune, Hyderabad and at our newly opened centre in Bengaluru.

"From there, we'll connect with employees who can work from home or smaller cities. We'll also connect with global talent through our international centres," says Natarajan.

"As we grow, my hope is almost 30 per cent of our workforce will be virtual by 2016 -- they will work from home and from other cites connected with our global delivery hubs elsewhere," he adds.

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Photographs: Vivek Prakash/Reuters

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Zensar Technologies has about 7,500 employees, of which about 1,500 are located outside India. Zensar has global delivery centres abroad in Shanghai (China), Boston and San Jose (the US) and Johannesburg (South Africa).

Natarajan says while the company already has nearly 200 people working from home in Pune, it is in the process of introducing the practice in Hyderabad, its second largest centre in the country.

In Bengaluru, where the company aims to develop intellectual properties, templates and reusable solutions in the areas of cloud, social media and mobility, Zensar is looking at enabling almost 50 per cent of its employees to work from home locally and in smaller cities of Karnataka.

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Photographs: Rediff Archives

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"Right now, we have around 100 employees in Bengaluru and we plan to have another 200 employees who will work from home or smaller cities in the state," he says.

Work from home is not a new concept. Most global technology companies such as IBM, HP, Oracle, Cisco, Accenture and Dell allow employees to work from home, with the permission of their managers.

But, the practice is not widespread and is mostly driven by the need of respective employees.

In India, most IT services companies are not comfortable allowing their employees to work from home.

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Tags: IBM , HP , Accenture , Oracle

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Even those employees not deployed on any project (known as the bench) are required to spend the regular 8-10 working hours in the office.

According to Natarajan, the reason why most IT services companies are not comfortable encouraging employees to work from home is the absence of a monitoring mechanism. "Most people feel they won't be able to supervise employees not working directly under their eyes."

Zensar is deploying new software and technologies that will measure the performance of employees working at another location.

"We are investing in technology and connectivity. We are also developing new tools that will measure the performance of employees based on the outcomes delivered," says Natarajan.


Photographs: Rediff Archives
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