India's largest IT service firm Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) is looking to discard its 20-year-old operating model on account of the COVID-19 pandemic. By 2025, TCS will ask a vast majority of 75% of its 4.48 lakh employees globally (including 3.5 lakh in India) to work from home (WFH), up from the industry average of 20% today. The new model called 25/25 will require far less office space than occupied today.
TCS's chief operating officer NG Subramaniam stated, "We don't believe that we need more than 25% of our workforce at our facilities in order to be 100% productive.”
The decision came after TCS quickly moved 90% of its 4,48,000 employees post-lockdown to an operating model it calls Secure Borderless Work Spaces (SBWS). In a letter to employees, TCS CEO and MD Rajesh Gopinathan stated SBWS had seen 35,000 meetings, 406000 calls, and 340 lakh messages across TCS on the digital collaboration platform. The IT firm has invested in creating SBWS over the past few years and as per the CEO, it has come out stronger and ‘our model is more proven than ever before.’
Subramaniam further added that each employee should spend only 25% of his/her working time in office. This means, that of all the team members, only 75% of a project team may be in a single location and the rest will be dispersed across geographies.
The percentage reduction in the workforce in the office will also result in a decrease in office space. So, 25% fewer employees in the office may reduce the need for office space by 15%. Given that TCS is one of the leading firms in the IT sector, this would cause major changes in the entire operating model of IT firms. As a result, from a highly centralized model consisting of workspaces set in large delivery campuses capable of accommodating thousands of employees, the firm will be switching to the current form of distributed delivery as a matter of routine.
While it will take time for firms to adapt to the new model of working and set up the infrastructure in place to make it productive in the long run, the model ensures that organizations become more resilient in the future on account of the fully distributed nature and better suited for business continuity and agility.